WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate earlier today passed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA), S. 3021, by a vote of 99-1. The House passed the bill earlier on a voice vote. The President is expected to sign the bill into law.
AWIA - also known as the Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) - is a biennial piece of legislation that is the main vehicle for authorizing water projects to be studied, planned and developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps). It is also the legislative vehicle for implementing policy changes with respect to the Corps’ and other federal water resource projects and programs.
"This legislation is very important to the rural communities of the Western United States," said Dan Keppen, Family Farm Alliance executive director. "We appreciate that AWIA includes specific provisions that will benefit the Upper Missouri River watershed, the Klamath Basin in California and Oregon, as well as rural communities and agricultural water users in other areas of the country located west of the 100th meridian."
Some of the key provisions of AWIA 2018 that apply to the Upper Missouri River system and the West include modifications to Fontenelle Reservoir in Wyoming, flood protection on the Snake River, reauthorization of the national levee safety program, adjustment of flood control rule curves on non-Federal reservoirs, control of invasive species, and evaluation of federal agency capabilities and capacity, among others.
"The AWIA 2018 also includes several sections we believe would give local interests a stronger role in flood management and provide a balanced fair means of addressing the challenges faced by rural communities with limited funds and human resources," said Pat Riley, a member of the Alliance's Advisory Committee from Montana, who testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee in support of this legislation last May.
Click here to download a PDF of the Alliance's support letter for AWIA, sent to the EPW Committee on October 5.
Click here for EPW Committee Chairman John Barrasso's press release, which includes a statement of support from Alliance President Patrick O'Toole and Mr. Keppen.