America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 has been introduced by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), committee ranking member Tom Carper (D-DE), Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee chairman Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee ranking member Ben Cardin (D-MD). The Act would increase water storage, provide protection from floodwaters, deepen significant ports, and maintain navigability of inland waterways. The legislation will also repair aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems.
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorizes projects which have undergone congressional scrutiny and have completed chief of engineers’ reports from the Army Corps. Prior to the introduction on the legislation, the Environment and Public Works committee met January 10 for a hearing on “America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges,” and met again on January 17 to hold a hearing on “America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges: Federal Panel.”
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would:
- Expand water storage capabilities;
- Assist local communities in complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act in upgrading aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems;
- Reduce flooding risks for rural, western, and coastal communities;
- Ensure that America maintains the competitiveness of our coastal and inland ports, and maintain the navigability of our inland waterways; and
- Create a new framework to allow for more Corps projects to be budgeted at the regional and local level, with local stakeholder input, as opposed to just at the national level;
- Authorize or reauthorize important water infrastructure programs and projects that benefit the entire country; and
- Addresses significant water infrastructure needs in tribal communities.