President Obama Signed the WIIN Act into Law

The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation, or WIIN, Act was signed by President Obama on December 16, 2016. In the Act’s introduction, it states that its purpose is: “To provide for improvements to the rivers and harbors of the United States, to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, and for other purposes,” (S.612, pg. 2). It is under Subtitles A & B of Title II, Water and Waste Act of 2016, of the WIIN Act that it addressed the issue of the increasing lead concentration in drinking water due to an aging infrastructure. The WIIN act provides federal grants to states to address elevated lead levels in the water in disadvantaged communities.


Specifically, the WIIN act gave financial relief to the city of Flint, MI. As of when the Act was signed, Flint had already suffered two years of elevated lead levels in their tap-water. In President Obama’s press release of the WIIN acts signing, he states, “The law also authorizes $170 million for communities facing drinking water emergencies, including funding for Flint, Michigan, to recover from the lead contamination in its drinking water system,” (United States). The longer the water crisis of disadvantaged communities go unfulfilled; the more they fuel the narrative immortalizing the idea of unsafe drinking water became, “Our findings demonstrate persistent racial/ethnic disparities in the tap water consumption gap, and that Hispanic and Black households’ probability of not drinking tap water has further increased in recent years,” (Rosinger et al. 3). The groups of people adversely effected were typically poor people of color. This is shown in the percentage of decreasing tap water usage by Blacks and Latina’s increasing 50% by 2018 (Rosinger et al.). President Obama’s signing the WIIN Act into law represents the intersection of Race and Class as the WIIN act tries to address the issues that adversely affect poor people and people of color.


S.612 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): WIIN Act.", Library of Congress, 16 December 2016,

Rosinger, Asher Y, et al. “Examining Recent Trends in the Racial Disparity Gap in Tap Water Consumption: NHANES 2011–2018.” Public Health Nutrition, 2021, pp. 1–7.,

United States, Office of the Press Secretary. “Statement by the President on the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act.” The White House, 16 Dec. 2106,


Wilson, Mark. “President Obama Signs The Budget Bill In The Oval Office Of White House.” Getty Images, 2015, Accessed 2021.


Associated Place(s)

Event date:

16 Dec 2016 to 16 Dec 2016