Rep. Jared Huffman, Susie Lee Introduce Drought Mitigation Legislation to Further Invest in Large-scale Water Recycling, Conserve Water Resources

Press Release

Today, Representative Jared Huffman (CA-02) introduced H.R. 8434, the Facilitating Large-Scale Water Recycling and Reuse Projects Act, alongside Reps. Susie Lee (NV-03), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), , and Greg Stanton (AZ-09). Similar legislation was also introduced in the Senate by Sens. Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Rosen (D-NV).

This legislation would build on the funding in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Rep. Lee helped to secure, by providing an additional $700 million to the Competitive Grant Program for Large-Scale Water Recycling included in IIJA. This legislation would also extend the length of the grant program to facilitate the long-term investments needed for these types of large-scale water recycling projects in the drought-stricken Western United States.

"Severe drought has become an inevitable part of life for folks in California. So, we need to prioritize solutions that help communities adapt that are equitable, green, and proven to work -- like large scale water recycling," said Rep. Huffman. "It was a huge success to get funding included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for this effort, but we know more is needed. Water policy doesn't have to be a zero-sum game, and with the programs established in this bill we'll be able to support the long term needs of everyone with a stake in the future of Western water."

"Combating our drought is going to take every tool in our toolbox, and large-scale water recycling is an innovative way to conserve water as we face the worst drought in 12 centuries," said Rep. Lee. "Our region is suffering, and families and businesses are worried about their future as water supplies continue to dwindle. That's why addressing this drought is a top priority of mine in Congress. My legislation will help large-scale water recycling projects get the funding they need to get up and running, helping to conserve water in the region -- and leaving more water in the Colorado River and in Lake Mead for southern Nevada."

"Title XVI water recycling projects create jobs, boost our local economies, and can be brought online in as little as two years in contrast to dams which take 10 to 15 years to build and cost $2 billion now. These are some of the many reasons why I have proudly worked for more than two decades to increase federal grant funding opportunities for these projects," said Rep. Napolitano. "As we combat extreme drought and prepare for future water shortages in Southern California and all across the arid west, Congress must provide robust funding opportunities now to help get large-scale water recycling projects off the ground. I thank Representatives Lee, Grijalva, Huffman, and Stanton for their ongoing partnership in boosting cost-effective, large-scale recycling projects and securing a sustainable, drought-proof water supply for our communities."

"The Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to forty million people, has been in drought for more than two decades with no end in sight," said Rep. Grijalva. "Federal support is urgently needed to help our communities respond to permanent drought cycles driven by climate change. That support must include federal investment in new drought-proof water supply projects like large-scale water reuse and recycling projects that can provide enough new, drought-proof water for tens of millions of Americans each year. I applaud Rep. Lee and the other bill sponsors for their leadership on this issue."

"Prolonged, severe drought is becoming the new normal for families and businesses in Arizona. To protect our water supply, today and for generations to come, we need to swiftly invest in drought-proof water reuse and recycling efforts on a massive scale. Several projects in Arizona and across the West are already in the works thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, but this bill provides an immediate investment from Congress to get these projects off the ground quickly and meet the severity of this crisis," said Rep. Stanton.

"As a community that reuses nearly every drop of indoor water use, Southern Nevada recognizes that water recycling is paramount for the future sustainability of our community," said John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager. "As climate change constrains water supplies for tens-of-millions of Americans, we applaud Congresswoman Susie Lee's leadership in supporting legislation aimed advancing large-scale water recycling and reuse projects to help increase water security for Nevadans and communities across the nation."

"Innovative large-scale water recycling projects like ours will help the Southwest adapt to climate change and reduce demands on watersheds stressed by drought," said Adel Hagekhalil, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California General Manager. "These projects are complex and take time to build. Extending the large-scale water recycling program's authorization and providing additional funding will help transform how the Southwest gets its water and provide water resiliency in the face of changing climate while protecting health, safety and economy."

As the West is facing the worst drought in 12 centuries, Rep. Lee has been a fierce advocate for drought mitigation efforts and western water infrastructure. Rep. Lee's Large-Scale Water Recycling Project Investment Act was included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed into law in November 2021, and this legislation builds on the success of that legislation.

Additionally, just this week, Rep. Lee introduced the Las Vegas Wash Program Extension Act, which will provide additional funding to support erosion control projects and critical infrastructure around the Las Vegas Wash. Rep. Lee has also introduced the Water Data Act and the Open Access Evapotranspiration Act, two pieces of legislation aimed at facilitating better water data management to help conserve and precious water resources.