Bipartisan coalition introduces bill to spur water research innovation
Rob Wittman (R-VA-01), Josh Harder (D-CA-10) and Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32 introduced the bipartisan Water Resources Research Amendments Act last week.
The legislation would reauthorize an expired program supporting local water research institutes. This reauthorization will solve problems regarding water quantity and quality in collaboration with universities, local governments, the water industry, and the public.
A bipartisan partner bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. John Boozman (R-AR).
“Everyone deserves clean water,” Wittman said. “As a conservationist, scientist and co-chair of the Public Health Caucus, I fully understand that water research directly and positively impacts water quality. Reauthorizing these programs restores the funding critically needed to develop locally-tailored solutions for modern water challenges, including quality and supply. In a time of such bitter partisanship, this bipartisan coalition serves as a reminder that Congress can still work together to everyone’s benefit.”
“Our old ideas for managing and growing our water supply just aren’t cutting it. It’s already been a difficult year for our water and we need to do everything we can to get ahead of the next drought,” Harder said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat – everyone needs water – and the bipartisan support for this bill is proof of that fact. Folks across the Central Valley agree that we need more water and we need better tools to support that. This bill does just that by ensuring the experts on these issues are working with our local governments and communities to improve their water supplies and quality.”
“As president of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR), I am pleased to see that Reps. Harder, Wittman, Napolitano, and Griffith in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sens. Cardin and Boozman in the U.S. Senate are again leading the effort to reauthorize the Water Resource Research Act,” said Doug Parker, president of the National Institutes for Water Resources. “This critical program at USGS funds research, education and outreach in each State of the nation and helps address national, regional, and local water issues. As champions of water research and education, these Members of Congress are ensuring that challenging issues related to water quality and quantity are addressed in partnership with states while supporting the development of the next generation of water scientists and engineers.”
The Water Resources Research Act, originally passed in 1964, creates water resources research institutes in every state. The institutes work with stakeholders to develop locally-tailored solutions to water challenges, including supply.
The program expired in 2011 and has not been reauthorized since. The Water Research Resources Amendments Act will reauthorize the program at $18 million through 2024 and update it to ensure funding is targeted at modern challenges.