The Alliance for Water Efficiency has been hard at work to educate Congress on the benefits of improved water management, and these efforts are bearing fruit in the 111th Congress.
In late June, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Clean
Energy and Security Act, HR 2454, a climate bill that also includes a
federal procurement program for water efficiency and a multi-million dollar
rebate/incentive program for consumers for water efficient products and
services. It also authorizes WaterSense as a permanent U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) program. Focus now shifts to the Senate, where the
Environment and Public Works Chairwoman, Barbara Boxer, is planning to mark up
a similar yet broader climate bill to report out of committee before the
August congressional recess.
To ensure needed support, the climate bill then may be coupled with a recently
passed energy bill, moving the two bills together through the Senate in the
Fall. The energy bill, the American Clean Energy Leadership Act, is a
bi-partisan, comprehensive energy bill that includes provisions highlighting
the nexus between water resources and energy production. In fact, all six
Senate committees with jurisdiction on a climate and energy package will have
to complete their action by mid-September in order to bring the final
legislation to the floor by October.
While focusing heavily on its legislative priorities, Congress continues to
work this month on bills of particular interest to water professionals, such as
the Water Infrastructure Financing Act, S. 1005, the bill that amends and
re-authorizes the clean water and safe drinking water State Revolving Funds
(SRFs), expands eligibility for funding projects including water conservation,
efficiency, reuse and recycling projects, and authorizes the EPA’s WaterSense
program and a number of additional legislative priorities. Although a
20-percent set-aside for green projects currently is not included in S. 1005,
it appears that language for a 20-percent set-aside similar to what was in the
Stimulus Bill may end up in the FY 2010 Appropriations bill for the SRFs.
Victories for Water Efficiency
August 1, 2009