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Harder & Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Bill to Spur Innovation in Water Research

WASHINGTON — Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10), Rob Wittman (VA-1), and Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), today introduced the bipartisan Water Resources Research Amendments Act. The bill would reauthorize an expired program which supports local water research institutes that solve problems regarding water quantity and quality in collaboration with universities, local governments, the water industry, and the public. A bipartisan partner bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Cardin (MD) and Sen. Boozman (AR). Both Rep. Harder’s House bill and the Senate bill will reauthorize the program providing millions in funding through 2024 and update it to ensure it is targeted at modern challenges.

“Our old ideas for managing and growing our water supply just aren’t cutting it. It’s already been a difficult year for our water and we need to do everything we can to get ahead of the next drought,” said Rep. Harder. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat – everyone needs water – and the bipartisan support for this bill is proof of that fact. Folks across the Central Valley agree that we need more water and we need better tools to support that. This bill does just that by ensuring the experts on these issues are working with our local governments and communities to improve their water supplies and quality.”

“Everyone deserves clean water,” said Rep. Wittman. “As a conservationist, scientist and co-chair of the Public Health Caucus, I fully understand that water research directly and positively impacts water quality. Reauthorizing these programs restores the funding critically needed to develop locally-tailored solutions for modern water challenges, including quality and supply. In a time of such bitter partisanship, this bipartisan coalition serves as a reminder that Congress can still work together to everyone’s benefit.” 

“In Southern California, where drought preparedness is a way of life, we know that every drop of water counts and that solving our greatest water challenges requires all hands on deck,” Rep. Napolitano said. “The Water Resources Research program affirms this need, calling for coordination between academia, the states, and the federal government in addressing the water needs of our communities, and it builds on the recent strides San Gabriel Valley-based water scientists, engineers, and agencies have made in expanding our region’s water portfolio. I’m proud to again partner with my colleagues on this bipartisan legislation to help develop our future water workforce and secure a sustainable water future for all Americans.”

“As President of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR), I am pleased to see that Reps. Harder, Wittman, Napolitano, and Griffith in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sens. Cardin and Boozman in the U.S. Senate are again leading the effort to reauthorize the Water Resource Research Act,” said Doug Parker, Director of the California Institute for Water Resources at the University of California. “This critical program at USGS funds research, education and outreach in each State of the nation and helps address national, regional, and local water issues.  As champions of water research and education, these Members of Congress are ensuring that challenging issues related to water quality and quantity are addressed in partnership with states while supporting the development of the next generation of water scientists and engineers.”

The Water Resources Research Act, originally passed in 1964, creates water resources research institutes in every state. The institutes work with stakeholders to develop locally-tailored solutions to water challenges, including supply. The program expired in 2011 and has not been reauthorized since.


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