On Wednesday, the Senate voted 99-1 to pass a water infrastructure and reform bill authorizing dozens of new projects to upgrade drinking water, wastewater, and irrigation systems. (S.B. 2800 (2018) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/2800.) The bill contains many provisions of interest to those involved in the hydropower, dam, or agricultural industries, among others:
• Rehabilitation of Army Corps-constructed dams,
• Additional dam safety,
• Changing the authorization framework for hydropower approvals,
• Promoting hydropower development at current, non-powered dams,
• Changing the framework for how DOI processes take permits for migratory birds,
• Establishment of a multiagency task force to study and provide recommendations to Congress on solutions for stormwater infrastructure, and
• A new grant assistance program to help local agencies address climate issues.
(America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, Section-by-Section, https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/d/f/df9d4b72-bbb0-4a2a-ad80-85e902efcbf3/54E9938F227C15B8700BF21FAC39FF2A.awia-section-by-section.pdf.)

The bill was a clear bipartisan effort to handle growing concerns over America’s aging water infrastructure system. Proponents of the bill, from both sides of the political spectrum, believe it will create jobs and give local agencies more on-the-ground control of their water resources. The chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, responsible for moving the law through the legislative process, hopes Trump will recognize the broad support for the bill and sign it into law.