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President Trump Signs Legislation in Support of Water Reuse

Date: October 24, 2018

President Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act into law on October 23, enacting legislation that authorizes several flood control and related programs administered by the Army Corps of Engineers and creates significant investment in water infrastructure including water recycling. The package is the biennial reauthorization bill for the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

“As a candidate, I called for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. Today, we’re taking another major step toward that goal,” President Trump said at the signing ceremony.

“Through targeted financial assistance, we will support projects that protect our nation’s waterways and water supplies, create well-paying jobs, and help rural and urban communities thrive,” Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said.

After months of active legislative advocacy, the WateReuse Association is pleased that that 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 this measure being included in the WRDA package. In the House, the provision was championed by U.S. 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.

The WateReuse Association’s advocacy on this legislation included:

  • letter to Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Tom Carper (D-DE), the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW), urging swift passage of the Senate WRDA bill. (August 4, 2018)
  • A Coalition letter of support for proposed WRDA language to the Senate committee leadership. (May 17, 2018).
  • A Letter to House committee leadership from Reps. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and John Duncan (R-TN) championing proposed WRDA language. (May 11, 2018)
  • Coalition letters of support for proposed WRDA language to the House and Senate. (April 6, 2018)
  • A Proposal document for an integrated water resources management provision in the 2018 WRDA bill. (March 2018)
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