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House Passes $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Package that Includes Investments in Water Reuse

Date: July 02, 2020

On Wednesday, July 1, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), which authorizes more than $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending and includes key water reuse-related provisions urged by the WateReuse Association. The House Transportation and Infrastructure committee held a virtual markup before general floor debate where the full House voted 233- 188 to pass the bill. Three Republicans—Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), and Chris Smith (R-NJ)—joined Democrats in supporting the package, while two Democrats—Collin Peterson (D-MN) and Ben McAdams (D-UT)—voted in opposition alongside most Republican members.

Before passing H.R. 2, the House adopted two amendments to support the evolution and adoption of water recycling across the country. The first amendment, championed by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), directs the Administration to establish an Interagency Working Group on Water Reuse. This language is identical to Senate language included in America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020, which the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed in May. WateReuse worked closely with the Senate Committee and with Congressman Lowenthal to advance this provision. In addition to the Lowenthal amendment, the House adopted an amendment offered by Representatives Harley Rouda (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY) to authorize the appropriation of up to $500 million for a new grant program aimed at helping local agencies integrate smart water and digital information technologies into their operations.

H.R. 2 contains several top WateReuse Association policy priorities, including reauthorization of both the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program at up to $600 million until expended and the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI-WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Program at $500 million through 2025.

In addition to reauthorizing the Alternative Water Source Grants Program, Title XVI-WIIN, and the Desalination and Water Purification Program, H.R. 2 includes a host of other important water reuse-related provisions. The bill:

  • Increases authorized funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) to $40 billion over five years, building on the $14 billion authorized in H.R. 1497;
  • Increases authorized funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) from $4.4 billion over three years to nearly $22 billion over five years;
  • Expands support for workforce development, including water reuse-related workforce training;
  • Includes $1 billion to help clean water systems increase resilience through water reuse and other water management approaches (a nearly ten-fold increase over the level provided in H.R. 1497);
  • Authorizes $2 billion over five years for the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Grants Program;
  • Sets aside 15 percent of the Clean Water SRF for green infrastructure and efficiency improvements; and
  • Increases access to tax-exempt bond financing for water infrastructure projects by exempting water projects from state allocation caps for Private Activity Bonds.

The updated text of H.R. 2 will be available here in the coming days.

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