Napolitano Champions $1.3 Billion in New Water Recycling Investments in Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act

Press Release

Date: July 29, 2022
Issues: Environment

Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (D-El Monte) voted for H.R. 5118, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (WRDR Act), in which she championed $1.3 billion in new Title XVI and Large-Scale water recycling investments.

"Without water, we have nothing; we have no health, no business, no planet, no future," Napolitano said. "The drought never ended, and climate change has only worsened conditions. We need greater investments in water recycling now to address water supply concerns in the arid West and particularly in my region of Southern California, and that's precisely what several provisions in this legislation do. I urge the Senate to take up this legislation and pass it without delay."

Water Recycling Investments Included in H.R. 5118 Authored by Napolitano:

Title XVI: $600,000,000
H.R. 1015, Water Recycling Investment and Improvement Act, was included with the following changes:

Increases Title XVI project cost share cap to $50,000,000 (H.R. 1015 increased it from $20,000,000 to $30,000,000; this would increase it to July 2022 prices)
Authorizes $600,000,000 in additional appropriations (H.R. 1015 authorized it at $500,000,000)
Large-Scale: $700,000,000
H.R. 8434, Facilitating Large-Scale Water Recycling and Reuse Program

Authorizes $700,000,000 in additional appropriations
Other Key Provisions for Western Water and Wildfire Response included in H.R. 5118:

Salton Sea Project Improvements: $250,000,000
Colorado River (Lake Mead and Powell): $500,000,000
Bureau of Reclamation Water Settlements Fund: $120,000,000 per year
Bureau of Reclamation Tribal Clean Water Assistance: $1,000,000,000
Water Efficiency, Conservation, and Sustainability: $50,000,000 for water efficiency incentive programs, $40,000,000 for assisting in detecting/addressing water loss in water systems
Establishes new hiring authorities and a minimum basic pay rate (approximately $20/hour) for wildland firefighters, as well as mental health leave and hazard pay.
Authorizes a 10-Year National Wildfire Response Plan for landscape-scale projects across the country.
Provides tools and resources to assist communities' wildfire activities, including prescribed fires, and supports opportunities for Tribes and Conservation Corps in wildfire activities.
The WRDR Act, which passed by a vote of 218 to 199, is a package of 48 bills that will provide much-needed investments to improve fire-adapted ecosystems, protect communities against catastrophic wildfires, enhance drought resiliency, expand science programs, modernize data and technology, and ensure a whole of government approach to wildfire and drought issues. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.