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Napolitano Applauds $123.6 Million in Funding for Federal Water Recycling Grant Programs

May 22, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) applauded $123.6 million in total funding for FY20 for the WaterSMART Program and Title XVI’s Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, which was approved by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development. Napolitano championed this push for higher funding levels, leading 50 of her colleagues in a March 29thletter to Chairwoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Ranking Member Mike Simpson (R-ID).

“This is an enormous win for Southern California and the entire West, where our water supplies are greatly threatened by drought and climate change,” Napolitano said. “WaterSMART and Title XVI programs have been well received in our communities and continue to build a more resilient, self-sufficient, and drought-tolerant economy in the seventeen western states. Not only do these projects create jobs and boost our local economies, farms, and businesses, but they provide long-term savings. We applaud this new funding, which will assist the Bureau of Reclamation in addressing a backlog of $464 million in congressionally authorized projects. We still have a long way to go to meet our water needs, but this is an important step forward. I thank the appropriators for supporting this critical investment and look forward to continuing to work with them to secure more funding for these vital grant programs.”

The WaterSMART Program, established by Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in February 2010, allows all bureaus of the Department to work with Tribes, States, local governments, and non-governmental organizations to pursue a sustainable water supply. Completed WaterSMART projects are saving an estimated 1.14 million acre-feet of water per year; enough water for 4.6 million people. WaterSMART grants leverage non-federal investment at greater than a 2:1 ratio. The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $60 million for this program in FY20, a $50 million increase from the President’s FY20 Budget Request.

Through Title XVI, the Bureau of Reclamation provides funding for water recycling and reuse projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, and agricultural wastewater and naturally impaired ground and surface water. In 2017, an estimated 388,000 acre-feet of water was recycled through completed XVI projects. The Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee has approved $63.6 million for this program in FY20, a $60.6 million increase from the President’s FY20 Budget Request.

Napolitano is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she has served since entering Congress in 1999, and is a long-time promoter of conservation, water recycling, desalination, and groundwater management as solutions to Southern California’s water needs. She sits on the Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, which has jurisdiction over the Bureau of Reclamation, where she was Ranking Member in the 112thand 113thCongresses after chairing the panel in the 110thand 111thCongresses. As the current Chairwoman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Napolitano is one of only two members of Congress who serve on the two subcommittees that oversee the major water programs of the federal government.

 

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