President Donald J. Trump signed into law the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) on October 23, a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) combined with legislation building on the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Doing so provides support to several programs including flood control, water storage, and drinking water programs.
National Ground Water Association CEO Terry S. Morse, CIC, hailed the legislation’s passage, calling it “a validation of the efforts made by NGWA volunteers to promote the importance of investing in groundwater.”
AWIA was passed overwhelmingly by the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in September. Typically, WRDA legislation has a narrow focus on navigation, dams, and levees, but after concerted efforts by NGWA and other organizations, the AWIA legislation includes a significant number of provisions affecting drinking water programs.
NGWA’s top priorities in AWIA:
- Drinking Water Infrastructure: Authorizes increased funding for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. DWSRF funds can be used for a range of purposes including supporting construction, upgrading, and maintenance of rural infrastructure like wells and well systems.
- $1.174 billion FY2019
- $1.3 billion FY2020
- $1.95 billion FY2021
- Groundwater Recharge: Reauthorization of WIFIA program for two years at $50 million per year, which finances large projects like managed aquifer recharge projects. The legislation also removes the “pilot” designation of the program.
- PFAS: Requires water systems serving more than 3,300 people to monitor for unregulated contaminants.
- Resilience Planning: Provides funds to water systems to develop resilience plans to address extreme weather.
Passage of AWIA highlights the effectiveness of NGWA advocacy as several provisions NGWA advocated for during the NGWA Groundwater Fly-In in 2016, 2017, and 2018 were signed into law on October 23.