Climate Hawk Lois Capps Pushes Climate Resilience For Water Systems

Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) has reintroduced legislation to help prepare our nation’s water supply against the damages of global warming. Greenhouse pollution from burning fossil fuels is destabilizing our hydrologic cycle, worsening droughts and floods and increasing sea level rise, while drastic cuts are being made on the maintenance of our aging water infrastructure. Capps’ bill, the Water System Resiliency and Sustainability Act of 2011 (HR 2738), will “establish a new Environmental Protection Agency competitive grant program to help drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities prepare for the impacts of climate-related risks on their operations.” Capps explained why the legislation is needed in a statement:

As we suffer through severe droughts, more intense rainfall and flooding, and sea level rise along the coast, the nation’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure is coming under increasing levels of stress. In the face of these costly challenges, and to help our nation’s water agencies continue delivering safe and uninterrupted water services to the communities that rely upon them, we must begin planning now. That’s why I’ve introduced the Water System Resiliency and Sustainability Act, which will help jump-start this critical local planning and create new jobs updating water infrastructure to meet the significant challenges posed by climate change.

“The funds would be awarded to owners or operators of water systems based on their vulnerability to climate-related risks and the number of users who would benefit from their proposals to manage those risks,” E&E; News summarizes. “The legislation would authorize $50 million a year for the matching grant program through 2016.”

Capps, who introduced similar legislation in 2009, worked on the bill with the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, environmental organizations and other stakeholders. The bill has 11 Democratic co-sponsors, and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) is expected to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.