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May 08, 2018

EPW Leaders Introduce Comprehensive Bipartisan Water Infrastructure Legislation

Barrasso, Carper, Inhofe, and Cardin Introduce America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 to address America’s water infrastructure needs.

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 supports our nation’s economic competitiveness by increasing water storage, providing protection from dangerous floodwaters, deepening nationally significant ports, and maintaining the navigability of inland waterways across the country. The legislation will also repair aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems. 

“One of our constitutionally required duties is to maintain our nation’s critical infrastructure,” Inhofe said. “This bipartisan water infrastructure act will support our inland waterways and water resources, provide for greater state and community input and promote economic development and interstate commerce. We’ve seen firsthand how past water infrastructure bills have developed and protected communities in Oklahoma through the Tulsa levees and the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). I am especially pleased that this legislation builds on my efforts from the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act to repair and modernize the nation’s aging drinking water and wastewater systems.”

“America’s Water Infrastructure Act will make communities safer and grow our economy by improving the nation’s water infrastructure,” said Barrasso. “President Trump has made addressing the nation’s aging dams, levies, water systems, and ports a top priority. This bipartisan legislation answers the president’s call. Projects included in the bill would make a positive impact in Wyoming by increasing water storage; protecting communities from dangerous ice jam floods; and by upgrading old water systems. Let’s use this opportunity to pass major water infrastructure legislation that will help keep our nation prosperous.”

“Since 2010, we’ve witnessed the longest-running economic expansion in our nation’s history, but if we want this record growth to continue through 2018 and into the next decade, investments in our decades-old infrastructure will be crucial,” said Carper. “Beyond what we think of as traditional infrastructure of roads, highways and bridges, our water infrastructure – waterways, ports, dams, levees, drinking and wastewater systems and natural infrastructure along our coasts - touches every single sector of our economy and nearly every American household. In Delaware, our economy relies on a modern port in Wilmington and healthy beaches along our coast, and our communities expect and deserve clean drinking water for their families. This bipartisan bill reflects the vital importance water infrastructure plays in Delaware and every community across the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to move this legislation through Congress and begin making these long overdue investments in our nation’s water infrastructure and our economy.” 

“Every community— urban, rural and suburban neighborhoods — has a right to expect that water coming from their tap is safe to drink and that Congress will do everything within its power to ensure that happens. Clean water means good jobs and better health,” said Cardin. “Clean water is not a partisan issue and I have been proud to work with my colleagues to develop legislation that will benefit water resources and infrastructure nationwide. Congress has a responsibility as a strong partner with states and localities to repair our nation’s hidden water infrastructure and open waterways.”

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 would:

  • Expand water storage capabilities;
  • Assist local communities in complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act in upgrading aging drinking water, wastewater and irrigation systems;
  • Reduce flooding risks for rural, western, and coastal communities;
  • Ensure that America maintains the competitiveness of our coastal and inland ports, and maintain the navigability of our inland waterways; and
  • Create a new framework to allow for more Corps projects to be budgeted at the regional and local level, with local stakeholder input, as opposed to just at the national level;
  • Authorize or reauthorize important water infrastructure programs and projects that benefit the entire country; and
  • Addresses significant water infrastructure needs in tribal communities.   

Read the text of the bill here.

Read the section-by-section of the bill here.

Background Information:

America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorizes projects which have undergone congressional scrutiny and have completed chief of engineers’ reports from the Army Corps.

On January 10, 2018, the EPW Committee held a hearing on “America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges.”

On January 17, 2018, the EPW Committee held a hearing on “America’s Water Infrastructure Needs and Challenges: Federal Panel.”



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