Alexandria, VA — Marshall Brown, General Manager of Aurora Water, testified today on behalf of the WateReuse Association before the Water and Power Subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in support of bipartisan legislation to improve the nation’s water supply and drought resiliency. S. 1932, the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act, includes a 5-year, $100 million reauthorization of the Bureau of Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse competitive grant program. Title XVI is the only federal program focused on funding water recycling projects in the western states.
In his testimony, Brown stated that “Aurora Water and the WateReuse Association strongly support the Drought Resiliency and Water Supply Infrastructure Act (S. 1932), and thank Senators Gardner, Feinstein, McSally, and Sinema for their leadership on this important legislation.” Aurora Water is a municipal utility located east of Denver, Colorado, providing drinking water, wastewater conveyance, and storm drain services to a population of over 370,000 residents. Aurora is a growing city and is projected to double its population over the next 40 years. Aurora Water has been a member of the WateReuse Association for over fifteen years.
“The Title XVI competitive grants program is helping water agencies develop critical infrastructure to support a reliable, locally controlled water supply to support a high quality of life and economic growth for communities. Congress must pass this legislation to ensure continued funding for a program that has demonstrated a high level of success,” said Patricia Sinicropi, Executive Director of the WateReuse Association.
Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Martha McSally (R-AZ), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) introduced the bill on June 20. The WateReuse Association worked closely with the lead cosponsors to draft and build support for S. 1932, including organizing a letter, signed by nearly 60 associations, water districts, and companies, expressing strong support for the legislation.
The Title XVI competitive grant program was originally authorized in the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, which is also known as Title XVI-WIIN. The 2016 WIIN Act authorized $50 million for Title XVI-WIIN, but with the enactment of FY 2019 appropriations legislation, that full amount was reached. There are currently 55 Title XVI-WIIN eligible projects awaiting assistance, with a total of more than $550 million in eligible federal cost-share. S. 1932 also includes $60 million for desalination, additional funding for surface and groundwater storage, and a new low-interest loan program for the financing of a range of water infrastructure projects.