Congress is poised this week to give final approval to the Water Resources Development Act of 2022, the latest iteration of biennial legislation that authorizes a variety of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control, navigation, and ecosystem restoration projects and studies. The House of Representatives approved a compromise version of the WRDA bill last week, and a Senate vote is on tap in the coming days.
Unlike lawmakers’ 2020 version of WRDA that was used as a vehicle to reauthorize numerous drinking water and wastewater infrastructure programs at EPA, this year’s bill remained narrowly focused on Army Corps programs. The final bill, representing a compromise between proposals respectively approved by the House and Senate earlier this year, contains 25 authorizations for new water resource projects, six authorizations for modifications to existing projects, and 106 feasibility studies to be carried out by the Corps. Also included are numerous policy provisions, such as directing the Corps to identify opportunities for utilizing floating solar panels at certain reservoirs and study measures to incorporate natural or nature-based features at or upstream of reservoirs for sustaining operations in response to climate change or increasing water supply.
The 2022 WRDA was packaged alongside the FY23 defense authorization bill and several other must-pass measures, clearing the way for Congress to approve it before the end of the year. President Biden is expected to quickly sign the measure into law following the Senate’s expected vote this week.