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The FY20 appropriations legislation approved by lawmakers this month for the first time will provide funding for a nascent EPA grant program to help communities increase the resilience of their drinking water infrastructure to climate change. Over the past several years, AMWA has been the water sector’s leading advocate in favor of the program.

EPA’s Drinking Water System Infrastructure Resilience and Sustainability program will receive $3 million in FY20 under the spending agreement. Created as part of America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, the program will offer competitive grants to help communities prepare their drinking water infrastructure for threats like floods, hurricanes, and hydrologic change. AMWA developed the original outline of the program several years ago, and the association has worked with members of the House and Senate to develop and introduce legislation to establish the program.

However, as authorized by Congress last year, only drinking water systems serving small or disadvantaged communities are currently eligible to receive funding assistance through the program. To address this, AMWA worked this past fall with a pair of senators to develop legislation to expand eligibility to drinking water systems of all sizes, and the association plans to work toward the advancement of that bill in Congress next year.