Napolitano Secures New Federal Funds, Other Key Provisions for SoCal in Final Water Infrastructure Bill
(WASHINGTON, DC) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) applauded unanimous House passage of S. 3021, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act, the final version of WRDA (Water Resources Development Act).
“Our legislation builds on the work we have begun in previous WRDAs at focusing the Army Corps of Engineers on water supply in arid regions, such as Southern California,” Napolitano said. “It is a jobs bill that authorizes $450 million in grants to cities over the next two years to plan, design, and construct storm water, water recycling, and sewer overflow projects. This is critically important in LA County, which is addressing a new MS4 storm water permit and implementing water recycling projects as solutions to combat long-term drought and climate change. The bill also increases water workforce training to address new technologies and a retiring workforce, and it creates a national standard for water-efficient products. I am proud to have worked with Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, and Chairman Graves in a true bipartisan manner to meet the water infrastructure needs of communities throughout America.”
Napolitano, the highest-ranking California member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, successfully included in the bill key provisions for Southern California:
- Section 4106 authorizes $450 million in grants to cities over the next 2 years to plan, design, and construct storm water, water recycling, and sewer overflow projects. This provision was originally authored by Napolitano as a part of H.R. 2510, the Water Quality Protection and Job Creation Act.
- Section 1222 requires the Army Corps of Engineers to study and assess which of their dams can be operated through forecast-informed operations in an effort to capture more storm water for local water supply, an issue at Whittier Narrows and Prado dams.
- Section 1146 makes permanent a pilot program that was created by Napolitano in the WIIN Act/WRDA 16 bill that has allowed public agencies or private companies to remove sediment from Army Corps dams. This allows dams to be more efficient for water supply and flood control operations. Sediment build-up was a particular problem in the Santa Fe Dam and the San Gabriel River dams.
- Section 1164 requires the Army Corps of Engineers to work with local governments on incorporating local watershed management plans in their feasibility studies for operating Army Corps dams and facilities, a priority for Napolitano.
- Section 4304 authorizes the EPA to create a grant program for educational institutions, workforce development organizations, unions and water agencies to provide training in the water sector. This is needed as many employees in the water workforce are retiring and as new technologies are being added to the water sector. The bill authorizes $2 million for this program.
- Section 4306 authorizes the EPA to continue and improve the WaterSense program which creates a national standard for the labeling of water-efficient products. Local, state, and federal agencies can then give rebates to individuals and businesses who purchase these WaterSense approved products in order to decrease overall water supply demands. This provision was authored first by Napolitano and former Senator Barbara Boxer four years ago as a part of the Water in the 21st Century Act but was never passed into law.
The full text of S. 3021 can be viewed here.
Napolitano is the Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA Clean Water Act Programs.
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