AMWA Welcomes Reintroduction of Utility Adaptation Bill

March 5, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) today reiterated its support for legislation aimed at helping the nation’s water and wastewater utilities prepare for and respond to the impacts of changing hydrologic conditions and extreme weather.

Sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) the “Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act” (H.R. 1278) is the latest iteration of legislation that she first introduced in the 111th Congress.  The bill directs EPA to establish a new matching fund program through which water and wastewater systems will compete for assistance to plan or implement water infrastructure projects made necessary by changing hydrologic conditions and extreme weather.  For example, utilities may propose projects to rebuild or relocate water infrastructure, develop new water supplies, engage in source water protection or other “green infrastructure” initiatives, increase water efficiency, or undertake studies to identify future scenarios for which they must prepare.

“Extreme weather and changing hydrologic conditions will pose new challenges for the nation’s communities in the coming decades, as severe drought, melting snowpack, rising sea levels, and more frequent heavy precipitation events will have widespread effects on water quality and quantity,” said AMWA Executive Director Diane VanDe Hei. “Our water and wastewater utilities will need additional resources to prepare for the coming changes, and to undertake the necessary measures to adapt their infrastructure.”

Today, AMWA joined twelve other water sector, public utility, and environmental organizations in issuing a letter in support of H.R. 1278.  Maryland Senator Ben Cardin has introduced a companion version of the bill in previous years, and is expected to do so again in the coming months.

“The ‘Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Sustainability Act’ will offer assistance to communities that are planning critical adaptation projects to keep their water clean, safe, and plentiful in the years ahead,” VanDe Hei said. “AMWA thanks Congresswoman Capps for introducing this important legislation, and we look forward to working with her to build its support.