Measure Reauthorizes Boozman-Authored Program Helping Rural Communities Modernize Drinking and Wastewater Systems
Apr 29 2021
WASHINGTON–The U.S. Senate passed the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2021, legislation to make federal investments to aging drinking and wastewater systems and strengthen the nation’s water infrastructure. The measure, passed with wide bipartisan support, includes reauthorization of a program U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) crafted to help rural and underserved communities access funding for water infrastructure projects.
“Republicans and Democrats agree that our drinking water and wastewater systems are in dire need of repair and modernization. This bill builds on that consensus and will create opportunities for communities in Arkansas and nationwide to make needed investments so that we ensure access to clean, reliable water systems is within reach,” Boozman said. “I’m also pleased the SRF WIN Act, which I authored and helped enact last Congress, was reauthorized as part of this package and will continue assisting rural communities’ efforts to upgrade their water infrastructure.”
The bill authorizes more than $35 billion for water resource development projects and makes significant investments in revolving loan funds that support our nation’s water infrastructure.
Provisions in the legislation address a number of priorities related to drinking and wastewater systems, including access to clean, safe drinking water; identification and prevention of water loss; water quality testing; increased resilience; and ensuring skilled professionals continue to be trained and available to maintain the water utilities we depend on.
The Securing Required Funding for Water Infrastructure Now (SRF WIN) Act, authored by Boozman in 2018, was reauthorized through 2026 as part of this package. The program offers an innovative approach to modernizing critical water infrastructure, especially for rural areas often unable to afford upgrades to aging water systems. It was supported by water infrastructure advocates in Arkansas and across the country, including the Arkansas Rural Water Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The initiative combines the best aspects of State Revolving Funds (SRFs) with the leveraging power of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) to make it easier and more affordable for states to meet underserved or unmet water infrastructure needs, and increases access to previously unavailable funding sources for small and medium-size communities while removing high application fees which often prevent access to funds for rural communities.