President Donald J. Trump has signed into law the America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA). The new law has provisions widely supported by the groundwater industry, including programs on flood control, water storage and drinking water.
Terry S. Morse, CIC, the CEO of the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), called the new law “a validation of the collective efforts made by NGWA volunteers to promote the importance of investing in groundwater.”
The AWIA passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate in September, and was signed into law on Oct. 23. The AWIA combines a reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) with enhancements to the Safe Drinking Water Act. It also includes the Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, which was introduced by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.).
“The Water Systems Council (WSC) was an integral part of getting this legislation included in AWIA and I couldn’t have done it without their help,” Sen. Boozman said in a statement. “I would like to thank WSC for its efforts in support of the SRF WIN Act.”
The SRF WIN Act was designed to modernize the nation's water infrastructure investment.
“America’s Water Infrastructure Act is in lock step with President Trump’s vision for infrastructure,” Boozman added. “This legislation provides millions and potentially billions in project dollars to communities that have traditionally not had access to these types of funds."
WSC President Richard Mest said, “With the availability of economical alternatives like water well systems and an affordable funding solution provided by this new law, there should be no reason that every American should not have access to safe drinking water.”
For its part, the NGWA says the new legislation include several top priorities of the group and its members:
- It 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 such as wells and well systems.
- It reauthorizes of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFA) 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.
- It requires water systems serving more than 3,300 people to monitor for unregulated, emerging contaminants like per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
- It provides funds to water systems to develop resilience plans to address extreme weather events.
The group had advocated for several years for many of these initiatives during its NGWA Groundwater Fly-In events in Washington, D.C., where members and group leadership meet national legislators.
NGWA is a nonprofit that supports responsible development, management and use of water resources. It is comprised of groundwater professionals ranging from contractors to equipment manufacturers to scientists and engineers. For more information, visit www.ngwa.org.
The Water Systems Council works to protect groundwater and to ensure private well users in the United States have safe, reliable drinking water. For more information, visit www.watersystemscouncil.org.