On July 29, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7575, the Water Resources Development Act of 2020 (WRDA 2020), a key piece of legislation that authorizes vital projects and priorities in the nation’s water infrastructure systems, including restoring natural infrastructure to reduce flood risk and boost community resilience.
“The U.S. House of Representatives just took a big step to make our nation’s waterways, infrastructure and communities more resilient in the face of extreme weather. By investing in bipartisan solutions, such as natural infrastructure, Congress is better protecting communities from flooding, while also creating jobs and restoring vital ecosystems,” the sponsoring committee said.
“The reauthorization rightly focuses on increasing equity and improving engagement with local communities and tribes given that they too often bear the brunt of extreme weather,” they continued.
Other priorities included in this reauthorization are improvements to the New York New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Study to better assess impacts of sea level rise to the communities and infrastructure of this region and measures to enhance the resilience of the Louisiana coast and lower Mississippi River.
“Extreme weather and flooding are taking a greater toll on people across all corners of this country. This reauthorization reflects the real needs that exist to protect communities and infrastructure from our coasts to the heartland,” added the committee.
Earlier in the year, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously advanced their version of WRDA 2020 out of committee.
The Senate bill included funding for key flood and coastal resilience studies on the lower Mississippi River and Great Lakes in addition to tools designed to build resilience and capacity for clean water infrastructure and water quality protections for communities and ecosystems.
“Our country desperately needs these investments to strengthen our climate resilience across our nation’s waterways. We look forward to working with leaders in both chambers and parties in the months ahead to see that Congress moves this vital piece of legislation forward to the president,” said the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Photo of Mississippi River flood by Sydney Swann from Pixabay.