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Napolitano & Huffman Release GAO Report on Benefits of Water Reuse Projects

January 15, 2019
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, DC)  A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released today by the expected Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte), and the expected Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), shines a light on the importance of federal funding for water recycling projects in preparing the arid West for a changing climate and scarce water supplies.  

“This GAO report highlights the importance of water recycling to address water supply concerns in the arid West and particularly in my region of Southern California,” said Rep. Napolitano. “It further describes the overwhelming demand for the primary water recycling program of the federal government, the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI program. Water recycling used to be thought of as an alternative supply option, but the growing reliance and acceptance of this technology has put recycling on par with traditional water sources, such as groundwater wells, aqueducts, and dams. I thank GAO for their comprehensive research and assessment of this technology, and I look forward to working in tandem with Chair Huffman to promote sustainability in addressing all of our water supply needs.”

“The Federal government has an important role to play in working with local water managers to modernize America’s water infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population and a changing climate,” said Rep. Huffman. “This new GAO report demonstrates the clear benefits of robust investments in water reuse projects that help our cities and rural communities continue to thrive in the face of water scarcity. In the 116th Congress, I look forward to working with Chair Napolitano to expand these proven water solutions that benefit all Americans.”

The GAO report released by the two lawmakers, both longtime advocates for sustainable clean water infrastructure, articulates the broad benefits of the Title XVI program, which authorizes federal participation in recycled water projects across the West, and studies covering various uses for reused water. The report identifies nearly a $1 billion backlog of authorized water recycling projects, demonstrating a clear need to continue and expand Title XVI funding.

For 20 years in Congress, Napolitano has championed water recycling projects in the West and nationwide. She will soon reintroduce her bill, the Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act, to reauthorize the Title XVI program and increase the funding level to $500 million to meet the needs of water agencies investing in this technology. As Congress discusses an infrastructure package, the Water, Oceans, & Wildlife Subcommittee will analyze existing authorized programs and how they are meeting public needs, and will work to expand water resilience through sustainable water investments.

A summary of the report’s findings can be viewed here.


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