Earlier this month, Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) introduced the Water for Tomorrow Act, legislation that ensures the country’s water supply can be maintained safely and sustainably for the future. The threat of climate change continues to intensify water scarcity and extreme weather conditions, especially in the West Coast and Mid-West states in the U.S. By combining the water sustainability measures from the Water Justice Act and key measures from the FUTURE Drought Resiliency Act, the Water for Tomorrow Act serves as the most progressive legislation introduced regarding water resiliency and sustainability.
“Every American has the right to clean water,” said Sen. Harris. “Unfortunately, our nation was already facing a water safety and affordability crisis. As our country continues to respond to COVID-19, Congress must prioritize a comprehensive investment in a sustainable water supply. This legislation will bring us one step closer making safe, clean, and affordable water a reality for all.”
The newly introduced legislation aims to invest nearly $3 billion in the following:
- Water Infrastructure and Sustainability
- Financing program to fund water infrastructure projects including storage, transport, desalination projects, and storm-water capture projects. Allows for access to federally-backed, low-cost loans. Requires that projects provide fisheries or ecosystem benefits or improvements that are greater than mitigation and compliance.
- Increased funding for water recycling and reuse. Led in the House by Rep. Napolitano.
- Increased funding for water management improvement.
- Re-authorization and increased funding for rural water supply.
- Ecosystem Protection and Restoration
- Grant program to improve watershed health and mitigate against climate change.
- Funding for the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, adding a focus on disadvantaged communities and projects that provide environmental benefits.
- Support for refuge water deliveries, drought planning for fisheries, and aquatic ecosystem restoration.
- Improved Technology and Data
- Utilization of data from technologies like LIDAR to measure water availability in snowpack.
- Study to examine the climate change vulnerabilities of Federal dams.
 “Harris Introduces Legislation to Ensure Nation’s Water Sustainability.” 7 July 2020, https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-introduces-legislation-to-ensure-nations-water-sustainability.
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