Alexandria, VA — Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, which will help communities throughout the Western states create drought-proof water supplies. The bill includes a 5-year, $100 million reauthorization of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse competitive grant program, originally authorized in the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (Title XVI-WIIN). In addition to the key Title XVI-WIIN Competitive Grant Program, the legislation includes $60 million for desalination, additional funding for surface and groundwater storage, and a new low-interest loan program for the financing of a range of water infrastructure projects.
“We greatly appreciate the leadership of Senators Feinstein and Gardner on this important issue,” said Patricia Sinicropi, Executive Director of the WateReuse Association. “The Title XVI program is the only federal program that provides funding specifically for water recycling, and has been a critical tool for developing sustainable water supplies across the West.”
The 2016 WIIN Act authorized $50 million for Title XVI-WIIN. With the enactment of FY 2019 appropriations legislation, that level was reached. The Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act will make additional investments in water recycling by extending the program’s authorization and increasing the authorized funding level to better meet demand. There are currently 55 Title XVI-WIIN eligible projects awaiting assistance, with a total of more than $550 million in eligible federal cost-share, and this list will only grow as more projects become eligible.
“A safe, reliable, locally controlled water supply is the foundation of a community’s health, economy, and sustainability,” said Sinicropi. “Water reuse provides a drought-proof and secure water supply for communities, increasingly important in the face of more frequent and severe droughts and changing hydrologic conditions. We applaud Senators Feinstein and Gardner for their vision and efforts in addressing one of our greatest challenges.”