House Expected to Vote on Energy Bill That Includes Water Provisions

House lawmakers returning to Washington this week are scheduled to vote on a broad energy bill that includes provisions to expedite gas pipeline construction and to enhance the security of the electric grid.? The bill also incorporates the text of the ?Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act,? introduced earlier this year by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.).?

The provision would establish a pilot program to award grants to municipalities or water utilities that propose innovative technology-based solutions that increase the energy and water efficiency of water, wastewater and water reuse systems.?Another section of the bill would formally authorize EPA?s WaterSense program.

?We need to innovate and think differently about the water challenges we face by focusing on solutions that help create new water and use the water we have wisely,? said Rep. McNerney upon introduction of the bill. ?This is the only way to build sustainable drought responses and efficient water management for the future. This legislation would help jumpstart that process and invest in projects that result in the technological and scientific-based solutions we need to provide clean water efficiently from recycling and other sources, and to help communities make significant progress in water conservation.?

Under the pilot program the legislation would establish, a utility, municipality, water district, or other authority that provides drinking water, water recycling, or water reuse services would be able to compete for project grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The projects would demonstrate and deploy novel and innovative technology-based solutions aimed at increasing the energy and water efficiency of drinking water, recycled water, and water reuse systems. They would also improve drinking water, water reuse and recycled water systems to help communities across the United States take significant steps in conserving water, saving energy, and reducing costs. In addition these solutions would support innovative processes and the installation of advanced automated systems that provide real-time data on energy and water.

Congress is also expected to take action this week to extend federal transportation policies, which are scheduled to expire on Friday.? Lawmakers have been negotiating a new long-term transportation bill, but another short-term extension of current policy may prove necessary.

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