Harder Leads Bipartisan Coalition on Bill to Spur Innovation in Water Research

June 28, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10), Rob Wittman (VA-1), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), and Morgan Griffith (VA-9) today introduced the 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.

“Our old ideas for managing and growing our water supply aren’t cutting it – we just came off the worst drought in California’s history – and now is the time to get ahead of the next one,” 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. ”

“We need to give states and local governments the best information available when it comes to their water supply and water quality,” said Rep. Wittman. “The water resources research institutes find innovative solutions to local water challenges, allowing states to address those challenges using methods most appropriate for them. This grant matching program has been instrumental, for example, in efforts across Mid-Atlantic states and in the Commonwealth to keep the Chesapeake Bay and our other water resources clean. Its localized approach has resulted in the development of urban storm water treatment and improved roadway design to address specific water quality and scarcity issues in the Bay and across the United States.”

“Californians and Virginians alike are facing water challenges that demand the newest data on water supply, contamination, and flood control,” said Rep. Napolitano. “The Water Resources Research program is especially significant to California, as research has been applied to assist our state water agencies and consumers deal with ongoing drought conditions and create innovative, more efficient water projects. I am proud to join Reps. Harder, Wittman, and Griffith in cosponsoring this important bipartisan legislation to strengthen the coordination between academia, the states, and the federal government and grow our water workforce for the future.”

“Water is a precious, irreplaceable resource, and the Water Resources Research Act has helped with our understanding of how to manage it for decades,” said Rep. Griffith. “The WRRA provides vital support for research on water issues and for educating future water professionals. Virginia’s Water Resources Research Center, established by the WRRA in 1965, supports cutting-edge water-resources research throughout the Commonwealth and innovative opportunities in water education, including a one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary water resources undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech. Reauthorizing WRRA will allow continued research, training, and outreach on our water resources, such as the ongoing work on assessing water quality and integrity in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. I am pleased to join my colleagues in sponsoring legislation reauthorizing this important measure.”

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. Rep Harder’s bill will reauthorize the program through 2024 and update it to ensure it is targeted at modern challenges.