Harder Scores Historic Water Wins in House Infrastructure Bill
WASHINGTON – Representative Josh Harder (CA-10) secured a series of massive wins for Central Valley water storage and water research projects in the Moving Forward Act, the House’s comprehensive infrastructure overhaul bill, which passed the House of Representatives today. The package includes Harder’s provisions to support local water storage projects including Sites and Del Puerto Canyon Reservoirs, invest in water recycling, supplement research to increase water use efficiency, and provide support to farmers engaging in groundwater recharge. Combined, these projects along with the other provisions of the bill would invest billions of dollars into the Central Valley economy and create thousands of new jobs. Nearly one in five residents of the Valley are now out of work because of the economic chaos resulting from the Coronavirus Pandemic. This is one of the largest infrastructure packages ever passed by the House of Representatives and would inject $1.5 trillion into the American economy. It also includes funding to support schools and childcare, housing, and the electrical grid.
“This is the best-ever infrastructure bill for the Valley – and it couldn’t come at a more important time given the economic chaos resulting from the Coronavirus Pandemic,” said Rep. Harder. “We need more jobs and we need more water here in the Valley, so it’s a big win we got these projects included. Now let’s get this bill passed so we can get people back to work.”
The Moving Forward Act includes all of Rep. Harder’s bipartisan Water Resources Research Amendments Act, important provisions in his SAVE Water Resources Act, and funding for water storage projects Rep. Harder has fought to support. Both of Rep. Harder’s water bills passed out of committee but previously had not received a vote in the full House of Representatives.
Representative Harder’s legislation included in the final Moving Forward Act include:
- Support for Water Storage Projects – The final package includes $750 million in federal support for water projects.
- SAVE Water Resources Act (H.R. 2473) – The bill also includes three sections from Rep. Harder’s first bill:
- Water recycling – One of the most efficient ways to increase efficiency during a time of scarcity is investing in water recycling programs. The Moving Forward Act would increase funding for water recycling projects by ten times. Currently, these projects receive annual funding of $50 million. The infrastructure package borrows provisions from Rep. Harder’s bill to increase that funding to $500 million.
- X-Prize – This cutting-edge competition offers a $2 million annual prize to incentivize private sector companies to develop new technologies to improve desalination, reduce water evaporation at reservoirs, and make water recycling more efficient.
- Groundwater Recharge – California’s State Groundwater Management Act enforces strict, difficult requirements on California farmers without sufficient support. The Moving Forward Act will leverage federal expertise to support these efforts. The bill requires the Bureau of Reclamation to use its scientific expertise to locate the most ideal sites for groundwater recharge.
- Water Research Institutes (H.R. 3510) – This bipartisan bill would revive an expired program which supports water research throughout the country. In California specifically, the bill would support the California Institute of Water Research, which helped almond farmers implement drip irrigation systems which increased their water use efficiency by 33 percent, cutting costs and implementing sustainable agricultural practices.
In addition to the important water provisions, the bill includes
- Over $400 billion for roads, bridges, and rail development
- Over $100 billion in funding for affordable housing
- Over $70 billion to improve our electrical grid