Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), along with Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member James Inhofe (R-OK), have introduced a bill to reauthorize federal grant funding for water resources research institutes in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Water Resources Research Act, S. 2104, will provide continued support for important research on state and regional water challenges, provide training for hydrologists and other water-related scientists and engineers, and fund public outreach and education on water issues.
“Every American depends on clean, safe water at home and at work. Whether its floods, droughts, or water degradation, WRRA grants provide us with improved understanding of water-related issues that pervade the nation and better technology to address them. Nearly half a century after the Water Resources Research grant program was first put in place, this program is just as relevant, just as critical, and deserves our support,” said Senator Cardin, who is Chairman of the EPW Water and Wildlife Subcommittee.
Senator Boxer said: “The Water Resources Research Institutes play a key role in addressing state and regional water issues facing so many states – including California. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that this important program continues to carry out much-needed research on our nation’s water resources challenges.”
“I am pleased to join Senator Cardin and Senator Boxer to introduce the Water Resource Research Act (WRRA). I have been a cosponsor of WRRA reauthorization efforts since 2000 because this program has a record of creating successful partnerships between states, universities and the federal government to bring research, education and training to help solve water quantity and quality problems at the local level. In Oklahoma WRRA funding has been crucial in allowing our state to bring together technical recommendations as well as public input to decide the goals for Oklahoma’s water future. Additionally, given the difficult fiscal environment we find ourselves in, I am pleased that we have come to an agreement on a sensible approach to reauthorization levels, while maintaining this important research program,” Senator Inhofe said.
First authorized in 1964, the Water Resources Research Act established 54 Water Resources Research Institutes across the country and set up a grant program for applied water supply research. The Act was most recently reauthorized in 2006, in PL 109-471. The Cardin-Boxer-Inhofe bill would reauthorize the grant program for the next five years and would add a program focused on the research and development of energy efficient and environmentally friendly green infrastructure. According to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Water Resources Research Institutes also are the country’s single largest training program for water scientists, technicians, and engineers.