America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018

by Joel Brand

On October 23, 2018, President Trump signed S. 3201 into law.  The “America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018,” has been hailed as, “a bipartisan win for all Americans.”[1]  It authorizes, “$3.7 billion for a dozen new Army Corps of Engineers projects and $4.4 billion for drinking-water projects.”[2]  Although the funds allocated must be appropriated each year, many are optimistic that much needed help is on the way.

The Irrigation Association is pleased for many reasons, not least of which was that the WaterSense program was authorized in the legislation. [3]  What is that?  Think a sticker program for water efficiency akin to what Energy Star is for energy efficiency.

Citizens of Seattle, Savannah, Georgia, and San Juan, Puerto Rico should be happy about funds tagged to restore harbors, and Floridians should welcome the $1.3 billion for the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir.[4]

Great Lakes residents may be pleased with the efforts to combat aquatic invasive species, particularly four species of Asian Carp[5]; Boating United sure is.[6]  There’s also $922 million going toward building a second Poe-sized lock.[7]  For readers that don’t know, the Poe Lock is the largest of the Soo Locks, which connect Lake Superior to lower Great Lakes and, “typically handle 80-plus million tons of cargo per year, including 42 million tons of iron ore for steel production.”[8]

With the sums involved and national, state, and local interests to consider, not to mention business and environmental, one could write tomes about this act.  Time will tell if the high hopes are met with results.  But for now, while this could be a case of special interest groups cheering while anonymous taxpayers across the country pick up the tab, there certainly seems to be a lot to be happy about with Water Infrastructure Act of 2018.

[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/10/23/americas-water-infrastructure-act-protects-families-bipartisan-flint-flood-column/1669902002/

[2] https://www.enr.com/articles/45685-trump-signs-water-infrastructure-bill-providing-37b-for-new-corps-projects

[3] https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/the-irrigation-association-welcomes-water-infrastructure-bill-signed-into-law-1027660650

[4] https://chicago.suntimes.com/news/donald-trump-signs-water-projects-bill-americas-water-infrastructure-act-of-2018-flint-florida/

[5] https://www.news-herald.com/news/ohio/why-asian-carp-pose-a-threat-to-the-great-lakes/article_ecc2dc52-9dbe-5a96-9c36-21045ac07134.html

[6] https://boatingindustry.com/news/2018/10/23/president-signs-americas-water-infrastructure-act-of-2018/

[7] http://www.lcaships.com/2018/07/03/second-poe-sized-lock/

[8] Id.

2 comments

  1. Thanks Joel for this informative post! It was quite interesting to read about the array of perspectives toward the Act. I, like you, am curious to see how this Act will affect the future of our water resources.

  2. Thanks for this information! The Land Use Center at Pace has been working on a water project for the last year. It focuses on federal, state, and local water law, concentrating on strategies to protect water quality. The Center will be hosting a workshop entitled Calming Troubled Waters: Local Solutions at on Monday, March 4 at 4 pm in the Problem Room on the project. Presentations by members of the Center’s water research team will explore the fragmented nature of water law in the U.S. and strategies for connecting the resources and powers of federal, state, and local governments to protect water quality. I would encourage you to attend and share your research on the Water Infrastructure Act!

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