May 22, 2015

Organization Supports Federal Funding for Water Reuse Projects

Congressional briefing organized to demonstrate value of and greater need for funding

The WateReuse Assn. supports Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s recent announcement that the federal government will invest $50 million in water reuse and conservation projects in 12 western states. The funding comes from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSmart program, which has provided about $250 million in funding since 2010.

“Given the tremendous drought facing the west and the identified $2.8 billion funding gap for planned water infrastructure, it is essential that we make adequate funding a priority,” said WateReuse Executive Director Melissa Meeker.

Even with the funding announced May 20, the Bureau of Reclamation—which supports the western U.S. in meeting water supply needs—continues to have a backlog of water reuse projects in need of funding support. Communities outside of the western U.S., and therefore outside of the Bureau of Reclamation’s purview, also struggle to find adequate funding to develop resilient water supplies that can withstand drought, climate change, population growth and other factors.

“We believe a real commitment to improving our water infrastructure is critical and are hopeful that the administration and Congress will continue to focus on assisting the states and local water agencies to help relieve the burden of this and future droughts by supporting innovative water reuse infrastructure funding programs,” Meeker said.

To help better share the benefits of water reuse in water supply resilience preparation, WateReuse is partnering with the Water Environment Federation and the Water Environment Assn. of Texas to coordinate testimony for a congressional briefing on June 11 hosted by Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. Municipal leaders that have implemented water reuse projects into their municipal water supply infrastructure will provide firsthand insights into the success and needs of water reuse technology and infrastructure.

Several WateReuse members will participate in the briefing, including Russell Schreiber of the city of Wichita Falls, Texas; Richard Nagel of the West Basin Municipal Water District, which serves parts of Los Angeles County; and Al Cho of Xylem. This briefing will provide members of Congress and staff with the knowledge they need to help work with their constituents to solve current and future water supply challenges.