Senator Udall (D-NM) Introduces Four Drought Mitigation Measures

Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced four bills (still unnumbered) on April 9th to help to alleviate the devastating effects of the ongoing drought across the West.
The first bill, Smart Water Resource Management Conservation and Efficiency Act, calls for the Secretary of Energy to create a smart water resource management pilot grant program open to utilities, municipalities, water districts, and any other authority that provides water, wastewater, or water reuse services.  The pilots would demonstrate “novel and innovative technology-based solutions” to:  increase energy and water efficiency; help communities make significant progress in conservation, energy, and cost savings; and support innovative processes and advanced automated systems that provide real-time date on energy and water.
The second bill, WaterSense Efficiency, Conservation, and Adaptation Act, would make permanent EPA’s WaterSense program designed to identify and promote water efficient products, buildings, landscapes, facilities, processes, and services.  The measure authorizes $7.5M for FY15, $10M for FY 16, $20M for FY 17, $50M for FY 18, and a formula based allocation for subsequent years.
The Water Efficiency Improvement Act is Udall’s third bill.  This creates a tax credit for consumers who purchase products certified by the WaterSense program.  The credits would be capped at $2,000 per taxpayer and would be offered to “help defray steeper upfront costs” for new, more efficient water appliances.
Finally, the Community Water Enhancement Act would amend §220 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to direct EPA to “consider projects involving rural communities in the selection of alternative water source projects.”  This Section refers to a grant program for rural communities, specifically those served by a public water system with fewer than 3,000 connections or without a public water system at all and the amendment speaks to alternative water supplies and conjunctively managing groundwater supplies by delivering surface water instead.
ASDWA will continue to track these bills as they get referred to Senate committees for further attention.