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World Water Day Brought Much News On – You Guessed It – Water

Posted @ Tuesday, March 22, 2016    By Stephanie Missert
Posted in [ News & Alerts, Blog, Water and Natural Resources, Environment and Sustainability, Water and Natural Resources, Legislative, Legislative, Environment and Sustainability ] | 0 Comments

March 22, or World Water Day, brought with it much discussion about the future of water policy in the United States. Here are a few major takeaways from World Water Day events and announcements:

  • The White House hosted the first-ever White House Water Summit to shine a spotlight on the importance of solutions to solving the water problems of today. At the Summit, the White House announced a series of “Commitments to Action on Building A Sustainable Water Future,” which overviews commitments to build a sustainable water future made by federal and local governments, institutions and organizations.
  • We learned that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee expects to markup a 2016 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) in April and hopes to pass a bill in July. This is consistent with reports from the Senate side on potentially marking-up a bill in April.
  • A senior EPA official said the EPA is ready to “jumpstart” its Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program if Congress moves on an aid package for Flint, MI, which has been offered as an amendment to a Senate energy bill (S. 2012), and includes $70 million for secured loans under WIFIA. However, even without the amendment language, assuming money is appropriated, the EPA expects to issue its first WIFIA loan in FY 2017.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) released its 2016 SECURE Water Act Report, which builds upon the first SECURE Water Act Report submitted to Congress in 2011. The report characterized the impacts of warmer temperatures, changes to precipitation and snowpack, and changes to the timing and quantity of streamflow runoff across the West by identifying additional impacts of climate change and adaptation strategies throughout Western river basins.
  • Senate Energy and Natural Resources minority staff released a white paper titled, “A National Framework to Address Drought and Water Security.”  The objective of the paper is to bring ideas together and foster a public dialogue to further develop a comprehensive policy agenda that addresses national water security needs.

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