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Congress Enacts Major Water Infrastructure Legislation, Includes Support for Water Reuse

Date: October 12, 2018

On October 10, 2018, Congress enacted HR 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act, which is the biennial reauthorization bill for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). WRDA authorizes several flood control and related programs administered by the Army Corps of Engineers. In addition, this year’s legislation included several provisions to increase investment in water infrastructure, including water recycling projects.

After months of active legislative advocacy, the WateReuse Association is pleased that the package included Sec. 1164, Local government water management plans, which helps advance water reuse by aligning water resources development projects supported by the Army Corps of Engineers with local water management plans. Many local management plans include projects such as stormwater capture and reuse, water recycling, and aquifer recharge. The WateReuse Association led a coalition of water associations in support of including this measure in the WRDA package. In the House, the provision was championed by Representatives John Duncan (R-TN) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Grace Napolitano (D-CA); while in the Senate, we received support from Senators John Boozman (R-AR), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

Other provisions included in this package that will also facilitate greater adoption of water recycling are listed below:

  • Sec 2004: encourages the use of non-potable water recycling to address water demand challenges, particularly for industrial applications, sends an important signal to both the private and public sectors to consider a water recycling approach for their water supply needs;
  • Sec 2007: Innovative Water Technology Grant Program provides $10 million annually to support investments in innovative water technology including water reuse or recycling and technologies to increase water supplies;
  • Sec 2013: Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability authorizes $ 25 million for investment in resilient and sustainable water infrastructure, including water recycling projects
  • Sec 4201: Reauthorizes the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act for $50 million annually through 2021, a critical financing tool for water infrastructure including water reuse infrastructure, which continues to provide low-cost financing tool for water recycling infrastructure.
  • Sec 4101: requires the EPA to establish a Stormwater Infrastructure Funding Task Force, a multi-government and non-profit task force, to examine ways to improve stormwater infrastructure, including infrastructure that can facilitate greater capture and reuse of stormwater resources.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 contains key provisions that will help advance the adoption of water recycling nationwide. A copy of the legislation is available here.

 

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