Congress Adopts Major Water Legislation: $4.4 billion Authorized for State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund

On September 13 the U.S. House of Representatives adopted the House Amendment to S. 3021, The America’s Infrastructure Act of 2018.  S.3021 passed the U.S. Senate earlier on September 4.  The House Amendment to S. 3021 is a bicameral and bipartisan compromise on components of three major pieces of water legislation, namely the House and Senate versions of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) adopted last year by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Section-by-Section of Legislation

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the legislation.

In General

In general, the major provisions of the legislation include:

Authorization for $3.7 billion for projects.  This authorization was created through cost savings of $4 billion by eliminating funding for water projects that are no longer viable.  In a preliminary cost estimate the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing the legislation would decrease direct spending by $333 million over the 2019-2028 period mostly because it would direct the Department of Energy to sell 5 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in 2028, which would increase net offsetting receipts by $340 million.  Also, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) expects that some of the funds authorized to be appropriated for capitalization grants to State Revolving Funds would be used by state and local governments to leverage additional funds by issuing tax-exempt bonds. JCT estimates that the issuance of additional tax-exempt bonds would reduce federal revenues by $103 million over the 2019-2028 period.

Title I authorizes Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) civil works activities including improvements to U.S. ports, inland waterways, locks & dams, flood protection and ecosystem restoration.  Provisions are also included that will help alleviate regulatory hurdles on projects while improving oversight and transparency.  Feasibility studies on water resources development projects are also authorized, along with modifications to existing projects and new projects across the U.S.

Title II includes provisions offering significant investment and modernization of U.S. drinking water infrastructure. $4.4 billion is authorized over three years for the state drinking water revolving loan fund program.  The funding is directed to assistance for:

  • states and utilities with compliance and asset management,
  • updates to anti-terrorism and resilience measures at public water systems, and
  • improves transparency for consumers about the quality of drinking water.

Title III provides regulatory relief for the approval processes for improvements to hydropower.  Hydropower is one of the cheapest ways to generate electricity and the U.S. is a world leader in hydroelectric dams.

Cansler Consulting government relations lobbyists At Cansler Consulting we understand that in Washington, D.C. change is the only constant. Advocacy in Washington is also changing and we are at the forefront using new technologies and data to help us focus on strategies that improve our client's return on investment. Our core lobbying strategies are driven by the value at stake from federal legislative & regulatory actions. Leading studies indicate that today's business value impacted by government and regulatory action, or inaction can reach as high as 30 percent of earnings for most companies. With as much as one-third of earnings at stake, it is imperative that companies, industries and organizations engage in government relations. If you need effective representation from a bipartisan, entrepreneurial government relations firm contact Cansler Consulting. We are certified by the National Institute of Lobbying and Ethics and have decades of experience assisting clients in issue areas including Agriculture, Budget & Appropriations, Food Safety, Transportation & Infrastructure, International Trade and Energy. Through our relationships established in Washington, D.C. and throughout the U.S. for over two decades we can help you the legislative and regulatory processes on Capitol Hill and inside federal agencies. You can contact us at

Tim Cansler