Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) announced the introduction of the Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act to help communities better protect their drinking water systems from drought, industrial pollution, and potential attacks. The bill asks communities to assess these threats and then establishes a grant program through the Environmental Protection Agency to provide them with the resources to make their water systems more resilient to the challenges they identify. The program would give priority to the water systems at greatest risk, and would encourage communities to adopt innovative approaches including water efficiency and water recycling.
“As we work to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, Congress must focus on public safety and our drinking water. Last year I visited Flint, Michigan and saw how the failure of its water infrastructure damaged the health and prosperity of an entire community. And in San Diego, we understand that drought-stricken communities are facing serious challenges to their short and long-term water security,” said Rep. Scott Peters. “This bill would give local communities the guidance and resources they need to innovate and address weaknesses in their own drinking water systems. As the climate continues to change and new threats emerge, it is important that we help communities make these investments now to ensure their water systems are dependent and secure.”
“The Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act will help states and local communities address their vulnerabilities to provide safer water,” said Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Rep. Frank Pallone. “I commend Congressman Peters for his ongoing dedication to ensuring that all communities have access to clean drinking water.”
The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave U.S. water infrastructure a “D” grade on its annual report card.
The Secure and Resilient Water Systems Act amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to direct water systems to assess threats within two years, with EPA guidance. It also authorizes $50 million for each year from FY17-21 to establish a program at the EPA that would provide grants for communities to address these threats. The grant program would give priority to water systems at greatest and most immediate risk. It also directs the EPA to ensure that the final list of applicants include a substantial number that propose to use innovative approaches to promote more efficient water use, water reuse, or water recycling.