Committee Approves Wicker-led Provisions to Enhance Rural Water Systems and Study Flooding that Devastated Mississippi Sound
U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today celebrated committee passage of both America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020.
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 includes a Wicker provision that would authorize a comprehensive study of the lower Mississippi River system to identify changes and new features that could help reduce the risk of flooding and decrease reliance upon the Bonnet Carré Spillway, which sends freshwater into the Mississippi Sound when it is opened.
“It has become abundantly clear that the Army Corps of Engineers needs to take a fresh look at water management along the lower reaches of the Mississippi River,” Wicker said. “With today’s vote, we are one step closer to identifying alternatives to prolonged spillway openings that have damaged the livelihoods of so many along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”
The bills also include proposals Wicker authored to enhance drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, among other provisions.
“Now more than ever, Americans need assurance that they will have access to reliable, affordable, and safe drinking water and wastewater services,” Wicker said. “This legislation includes a number of provisions to improve drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, especially in the small and rural communities that need it most.”
America’s Water Infrastructure Act would:
- Reauthorize the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides communities with low-cost financing for wastewater and storm water infrastructure projects
- Allow states to use up to two percent of their Clean Water State Revolving Funds to provide technical assistance to small, rural, and tribal publicly owned treatment works, as provided for in Wicker’s Small and Rural Community Clean Water Technical Assistance Act.
The Drinking Water Infrastructure Act would:
- Reauthorize Wicker’s Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act through 2024, which is a program that provides technical assistance grants to small and rural communities to help them comply with federal safe drinking water regulations.
- Expand eligibility for technical assistance funding provided under the Grassroots Rural and Small Community Water Systems Assistance Act to include state based non-profit organizations that are governed by community water systems.
- Require the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a study of low-income households in the United States without access to affordable public drinking water services, as described in Wicker’s Low-Income Water Customer Assistance Programs Act.
Both proposals were approved by the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works 21-0.