January 6, 2012

Many cities face expensive challenges in upgrading aging sewers, pipes and water mains to ensure clean water [“U.S. water and sewer systems tapped out,” front page, Jan. 3]. These cities should look to the District for cost-effective, cutting-edge “green infrastructure” solutions such as putting green roofs on new housing developments, improving management of polluted runoff along major thoroughfares (as the District has done along Georgia and Pennsylvania avenues), removing asphalt and planting grass in school yards, and expanding an incentive program for homeowners to use rain barrels, trees and permeable pavement. In the District, these solutions save money and create jobs while also safeguarding clean water, reducing flooding and beautifying the city.

Congress can promote clean water and healthy communities by prioritizing funding for these green infrastructure solutions.

William Robert Irvin, Washington

The writer is president of American Rivers.