Senate Appropriations Bills Include Funding for Water Recycling Programs
Last week, Senate appropriators released their fiscal year (FY) 2021 draft spending bills, which will need to be reconciled with versions passed earlier this year by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Federal Government is currently operating under a funding extension known as a continuing resolution (CR), which expires on December 11. Congress will need to finalize FY 2021 funding legislation or pass another CR by that date to avoid a government shutdown.
The Senate Interior-Environment Appropriation Subcommittee included $9.09 billion for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), $28 million above the FY 2020 enacted level, but significantly less than the level provided by the House.
The bill funds the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Program and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program at last year’s levels, $1.64 billion and at $1.13 billion, respectively. It also provides level funding ($60 million) for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program.
The bill proposes a $1 million increase (to $4 million) for the Drinking Water Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability Program, a $4 million increase (to $32 million) for the Sewer Overflow and Stormwater Reuse Municipal Grants Program, and a $2 million increase (to $8 million) for EPA’s National Priorities Research Program. Importantly, the Senate bill does not include language from the House version rescinding funds for earlier WIFIA projects, though it does require more oversight of the WIFIA project-selection process.
The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations bill includes a total of $63.6 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, $43.6 million of which would be available for “legacy” projects. Like last year, the bill provides $20 million for Title XVI-WIIN competitive grant projects. There are currently more than 50 eligible water recycling projects seeking more than $700 million in federal cost share through the Title XVI-WIIN competitive grants program.
The bill provides level funding for the Desalination and Water Purification Program. In addition to the funding provided for the Title XVI and desalination programs, the bill proposes $25 million for aquifer storage and recovery projects in the Great Plains, and $4 million to support research into the characterization, cleaning, management, and reuse of produced water. The latter would be administered by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The largest distinction between the House appropriations bills and the Senate appropriations bills is that the Senate bills do not include supplemental funding related to COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus. The House has sought to provide supplemental funding through the FY 2021 appropriations process, while the Senate has indicated that it will seek to do so outside of the appropriations process. Negotiations between the House and Senate will continue in private between now and December 11 in an effort to pass a full appropriations package for FY 2021.
WateReuse encourages members reach out to their Members of Congress during this pivotal time to urge increased funding for water recycling. We will continue to work with both houses of Congress and will report any updates as they occur.
Feedback Requested: WateReuse Seeks Member Guidance on Implementation of National Water Reuse Action Plan
The WateReuse Association is seeking member guidance on implementation of the U.S. EPA’s national Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP). To help guide implementation of a range of actions, please complete our survey here.
The WRAP was developed in partnership with WateReuse and other stakeholders. WateReuse is leading or co-leading a variety of actions, including developing a database to track and report state-level policies and regulations related to water reuse; establishing a water reuse award to recognize significant achievements in adopting and promoting water reuse in the industrial and corporate sectors; and helping to organize events related to stormwater reuse, inter-state collaboration, and workforce development.
State Updates and Member Profiles
Member Spotlight: Southern California Members Produce Recycled Water Video Series
Several WateReuse Association members have teamed up with the Southern California Water Coalition to produce a new informative video series that examines the use of recycled water in Southern California. Water: Too Precious to Use Just Once is a short and informative three-part video series that tells the story of how recycled water will help build a resilient water supply for the future. In this series, we find out what water recycling is, how safe it is, and how it is used and will be used in the future.
The video series was funded by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power with support from Carollo Engineers, Eastern Municipal Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Los Angeles County Public Works, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, San Diego County Water Authority, Santa Margarita Water District, UCLA, and WateReuse California. Watch the videos here.
Arizona: Celebrating a Year with Arizona’s first facility DPR permit
A year after becoming the first Arizona utility to be granted a facility direct potable reuse (DPR) permit, Scottsdale Water Executive Director Brian Biesemeyer discusses the facility’s journey from a One Water Brewing Showcase to today. This groundbreaking permit effectively established a blueprint for cities across Arizona and nationally to begin working towards reusing their precious water resources for future, long-term drinking water sustainability. Read more.
California: Recycled Water Key to SoFi Stadium’s Sustainability Efforts
The West Basin Municipal Water District will supply nearly 26 million gallons of recycled water to the SoFi stadium’s 298-acre Hollywood Park development for landscape irrigation, maintenance, and aesthetic purposes. The partnership was officially announced last week between West Basin and the stadium, home to two NFL teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers. The public-private partnership demonstrates sustainable stewardship that helps the community reduce the use of drinking water sources and invest in recycled water systems. Read more.
California: Regional Recycled Water Program Moves Forward
The Metropolitan Water District’s (MWD) Board of Directors voted to move forward with environmental planning of the Regional Recycled Water Program. The project, a partnership between MWD and Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, will be one of the world’s largest advanced water treatment plants. Upon completion, the project could produce up to 150 million gallons of purified water a day offsetting the amount used by more than 500,000 homes. Read more.
Member Resources and Benefits
Visit the WateReuse Webcast Library to Stay Informed
Did you miss a WateReuse webcast you really wanted to see? Or are you looking for information to support your water recycling program? The WateReuse Webcast Library is available exclusively to members and includes over 100 presentations that you can watch on demand with a member login. WateReuse presents webcasts on water recycling technology, operations, research, and policy issues and archives them for member use. Visit the WateReuse Webcast Library to make your selection.
Conferences, Webcasts and Events
Webcast: Water Reuse in Palestine – Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainability, Food Security, and Economic Growth
Although a small country with many water resource challenges, Palestine relies on agriculture as a critical component of its economy. About 50 percent of the land is designated agricultural yet only 7 percent is irrigated, creating an opportunity for water reuse to play a key role in water conservation, food security, and economic growth. Join Dr. A. Rasem Hasan, a professor and researcher at An-Najah National University in Nablus, West Bank, on December 9 at 1 pm ET to learn about recent challenges, social and technical, and proposed solutions to increase water recycling in Palestine. Register here.
Save the Date: 36th Annual WateReuse Symposium – Resiliency Redefined
Mark your calendar for the 36th Annual WateReuse Symposium, presented virtually March 15-25, 2021 as a series of live, fully interactive roundtable discussions. Each live roundtable includes breakout rooms that allow you to turn on your camera and interact face-to-face with presenters and other attendees. To prepare attendees to fully participate in this unique interactive experience, a group of pre-recorded, on demand roundtables will provide prerequisite education. Experience the 2021 WateReuse Symposium from the comfort of your own office in manageable chunks, and earn professional development hours! Learn more.
National Water Research Institute 2020 Clarke Prize Virtual Ceremony
Join the National Water Research Institute in congratulating the 2020 Clarke Prize awardee, Dr. Karl Linden of the University of Colorado-Boulder. The award ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube on Tuesday, November 10 at 12:25 pm PT. Linden is the Mortenson Professor in Sustainable Development at the University of Colorado in Boulder and is an innovator in wastewater treatment technology. Currently, Linden’s research focuses on UV light-emitting diode (LED) and UV disinfection for water treatment systems. Watch the event here.
Free Virtual Event: National Alliance for Water Innovation Annual (Virtual) Meeting
The National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) will hold its annual meeting as a virtual event November 18-19, 2020. NAWI’s Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to directly connect with interested members of the NAWI Alliance community through an innovative process called the NAWI UnConference. In this event on Thursday November 19, participants will be given their own Zoom Room to host other NAWI meeting participants who want to learn about their organization, research needs, capabilities or interests. Register here.
Free Webinar: City of Vancouver – Rainwater Harvesting & Non-potable Water System Design
The City of Vancouver is hosting a free webinar November 20, 2020 from 1 – 2:30 pm PT. How can rainwater harvesting help a new building meet its onsite rainwater management requirements? This seminar addresses the use of rainwater and groundwater for non-potable applications (such as toilet flushing, irrigation and cooling towers) from the perspectives of the Vancouver Building By-law and Vancouver Coastal Health. It will be of benefit to architects and building design consultants, engineers and technologists. Register here.
Free Virtual Event: Water Utility Resilience Forum
Water utilities will come together on December 1-2, 2020 for a virtual discussion of how utilities can be resilient and sustainable now and for the next one hundred years. Featuring insights from industry leaders and subject-matter experts, the Water Utility Resilience Forum will be a rich dialogue on what utilities are doing today to be resilient and what a resilient future looks like. The Forum is free to attend and is being convened by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) in partnership with the Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center (WaterISAC). Learn more.
U.S. EPA Webinar: Workforce Technology Adoption – It’s All About the People
Join the U.S. EPA and speakers from MCES (Minnesota) and the Water Tower (Georgia) on December 9 for a discussion of Technology Adoption to support the workforce of the future. The speakers will discuss the motivations, challenges, and benefits they are experiencing as they work with their own employees and others to ensure their people get the best support possible to meet the technology and water quality challenges of the 21st century. This presentation is part of an ongoing webinar series sponsored by EPA, with support from water associations. Register here.
Stakeholder meeting for pending changes to TCEQ Chapter 217 relating to reclaimed wastewater collection systems. View the advocacy updates article for more details, or visit the Wastewater System Design Criteria Stakeholder Group for the proposed changes and future meeting announcements.
Friday, June 9, 2023
11:00 am to 2:00 pm ET (Remote)
More info TBD