Before leaving for the holidays, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act (WIIN). The infrastructure bill enacts the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 and provides funding for harbor, flood protection and water resources infrastructure throughout the country. Of interest to California and Orange County is the fact that the act also included a number of provisions addressing California’s drought. Specifically, WIIN includes language allowing for increased water delivery from the Delta to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California, which is important to Orange County; expediting water storage, delivery, and other alternative water supply development in the western United States; providing $335 million for water storage and groundwater projects; and providing $180 million for desalination, recycling, and water reuse projects.
Additionally, WIIN reauthorizes the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program as a competitive grant program for reclamation and water reuse projects. This will allow projects to compete for federal funding without the constraint of a congressional earmark ban. Given Orange County’s innovative adoption of recycled water and reuse, our community stands to benefit from Title XVI’s reauthorization. It is expected that several Orange County projects will compete for Title XVI grants. WIIN was passed with bipartisan support and signed by President Obama on December 16. OCBC thanks our Orange County congressional delegation including Hon. Mimi Walters, Hon. Ed Royce, Hon. Linda Sanchez, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher, Hon. Darrell Issa, and Senator Diane Feinstein for their leadership and their votes. For more information, contact Bryan Starr
, Sr. Vice President, Government Affairs.
Special thanks to IRWD Government Affairs Director Christine Compton for contributing to this article.
Posted on December 13, 2016