Every now and again the stars align and something transformative happens and the world shifts. That happened last week when the board of the Cape and Islands Water Protection Trust made its first ever allocation of funds to 8 Cape towns, awarding almost $71 million in support of water quality projects and modern wastewater treatment. The Trust was created by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2018 with promise to provide much needed support to Cape towns struggling with the cost of wastewater management. Last week’s action fulfills the promise of the Trust and proves that towns now have the means to move forward on wastewater initiatives without delay.
While an achievement of the scale of the creation of the Trust takes the efforts of many, APCC leaned in hard into this initiative and was a critical force in conceptualizing the Trust mechanism, providing critical technical guidance to our legislative delegation, building a diverse coalition of supporters and educating the public as to the need and elegance of this proposed solution to the money problem. Hard problems are hard for a reason. Sometimes the tools we have are not up to the job and require a reimagining of the needed solutions. The wastewater funding issue was one of those cases and I take enormous pride that APCC took the harder path and helped come up with a workable solution rather than being satisfied complaining about the lack of an answer.
We all have 71 million reasons to smile along with renewed optimism. My optimism stems from the fact that while my adult life has been marked by the reality of water quality decline, I have real reason to hope that my children’s adulthood will be the time when water quality improved.
The other take home for me is that the informed, creative and aggressive advocacy that APCC has been known to practice for over 50 years still makes a difference. And that means we all make a difference.