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McNerney reintroduces water bill

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Tuesday, January 27th, 2009 at 1:17 pm in Congress, congressional district 11, Environment.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, has reintroduced his water re-use, recycling and reclamation grant program legislation. He first proposed it in 2007 but it did not survive the rigors of congressional deliberation.

Click through on the right for the full press release.Today, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-11) continued the effort to address the growing demand for water by reintroducing the Healthy Communities Water Supply Act, which will create a grant program to identify new water sources through such methods as recycling, reclamation and reuse. Rep. McNerney introduced similar legislation in 2007.

The Healthy Communities Water Supply Act, H.R. 700, will authorize $250 million – double the 2007 proposed authorization – in funding for projects that increase the usable water supply by encouraging innovation in water conservation, recharge, recycling, reuse, and reclamation.

“California may soon be facing one of the most severe droughts in state history. Yet the state’s population is projected to grow by five million people over the next ten years in conjunction with a significant decrease in Sierra Nevada snowpack, the state’s main water reservoir ,” Rep. McNerney said. “With dry conditions entering their third year, we need to move forward quickly with identifying new sources of water. This bill provides grants to investigate just that.”

The Healthy Communities Water Supply Act of 2009 amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to authorize alternative water source projects. It will provide a necessary source of funding for projects like groundwater recharge, aquifer storage and retrieval and membrane filtering technologies that have the potential to considerably increase our ability to use water more efficiently.

“This is an important bill which encourages innovation by authorizing funding for pilot projects to develop water supplies through conservation, management and reclamation,” Rep. McNerney said. “These projects can work.”

Previously, State Revolving Loan Funds and Clean Water Act construction grants were available for identifying new water sources. However, communities increasingly depend on these funds to provide for the maintenance and upkeep of existing water infrastructure, and not for discovering new, and potentially less expensive, water supplies.

H.R. 700 was introduced today and will be referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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