White House budget request includes funding for national water recycling program

The WateReuse Association has announced that the Biden administration has requested full and first-time funding for the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program, which, when funded, will be the first nationwide water recycling program in the United States.

Through the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program, the U.S. EPA will provide competitive grants to state, interstate and intrastate water resource development agencies to engineer, design, construct and test alternative water source systems, including water recycling systems.

WateReuse successfully led the push to reauthorize the program in the recently enacted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA). The IIJA authorizes Congress to appropriate up to $25 million per year for the program.

“With growing water quality and water supply challenges around the country, Congress and the Administration must invest more deliberately in programs dedicated to helping communities build resilient water systems,” said Patricia Sinicropi, WateReuse Association’s executive director. “We applaud the Administration for its commitment to standing up the first nationwide program dedicated to developing sustainable alternative water sources.”

President Joe Biden’s budget request is the first step in the annual appropriations process. Congress will now begin to consider the president’s budget request as it drafts appropriations bills for FY 2024. WateReuse expects to see proposed spending bills later this spring, and will be working closely with congressional champions, appropriators, and WateReuse members to ensure that funding for the Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program is included.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 40 U.S. states experienced moderate drought or worse in 2022. Droughts brought wildfires, heat waves, severely depleted water sources and reduced crop production across the entire United States. In the West, conditions reached their driest point in 1,200 years; and in parts of Pennsylvania, Illinois, New England and other regions across the country, communities faced significant and even extreme drought conditions. At the same time, major storm events continue to increase in both severity and frequency. The Alternative Water Source Grants Pilot Program will help communities holistically manage stormwater, supply constraints and water quality challenges.

Investments in water recycling ensure reliable and resilient community water supplies, support sustainable economic development, and help protect our rivers, lakes, streams, aquifers, and wetlands. By investing in federal water recycling programs now, Congress can give communities in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico the tools and resources they need to prepare for and manage the impacts of the climate crisis, including drought, aquifer depletion, flooding and land subsidence.

The WateReuse Association is the nation’s only trade association solely dedicated to advancing laws, policy, funding and public acceptance of recycled water. Its membership includes utilities that recycle water, businesses that support the development of recycled water projects, and consumers of recycled water.

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