Calif. Congresswoman launches effort to reauthorize water recycling program

Grace Napolitano (D-CA) introduces Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act of 2019.

Content Dam Ww Online Articles 2019 02 Ww Grace Napolitano

SOURCE: WateReuse Association

ALEXANDRIA, VA, FEB 14, 2019 -- Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA) introduced the Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act of 2019 (HR 1162), which aims to significantly increase the federal investment in major water recycling and reuse projects in 17 Western states. The bill extends the authorization of the Bureau of Reclamation's Title XVI competitive grants program, and increases the authorized funding level from $50 million to $500 million. Due to overwhelming demand and broad support in Congress, the program reached its $50 million limit within three years of its creation.

Alongside Rep. Napolitano, the following members signed on to the bill as original cosponsors: Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Harley Rouda(D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Norma J. Torres (D-CA), Salud Carbajal (D-CA), Dina Titus (D-NV), Katie Hill (D-CA), Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr. (D-CA), Josh Harder (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Linda T. Sanchez (D-CA).

"As the nation's only dedicated water reuse and recycling program, Title XVI competitive grants help communities innovate for the future while increasing their economic and environmental resilience," said Patricia Sinicropi, WateReuse Association's Executive Director. "We commend Congresswoman Napolitano and the other cosponsors of this bill for their leadership on this critical issue."

Congress created the Title XVI competitive grants program in December 2016 as part of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. The program is therefore often referred to as the Title XVI-WIIN program, and is distinct from Title XVI's congressionally authorized projects. The latter are determined individually by Congress and do not go through the competitive proposal process. Congress reached the $50 million Title XVI-WIIN authorization with enactment of the FY 2019 Energy and Water Appropriations Act.

As of late 2018, 44 Title XVI-WIIN eligible projects were awaiting funding, with a total of $528 million in eligible federal cost-share. The list of projects and supporting cost-share demand are expected to grow as more projects become eligible.

"The investments made through this program give communities the tools and resources they need to address growing challenges and maintain a safe, reliable and cost-effective supply of water," said Sinicropi. "We look forward to working with Congresswoman Napolitano and other champions in Congress to secure an increased authorization that is more in line with program demand."

In addition to increasing and extending the authorization for the Title XVI competitive grants program, the Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act of 2019 expands the geographic scope of the program by removing a requirement that projects be located in sustained drought or disaster areas, makes the program truly competitive by removing a requirement that Congress sign off on each selected project, and modernizes the individual program funding cap from $20 million to $30 million.

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