There are several federal programs with a demonstrated success in making infrastructure-related investments that support sustainable water use, healthy rivers and facilitate much-needed public-private partnerships. These include WaterSMART at the Department of the Interior; the Rural Utilities Service program at the Department of Agriculture; and the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Collectively, these and other programs that focus on conservation and watershed improvements are the backbone of making efficient and sound infrastructure improvements that address today’s water resource challenges….
Water resource programs across Interior, Agriculture, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (COE) are critical elements of an overall strategy to leverage significant non-federal investments to implement durable solutions that stretch limited supplies, improve watershed health, support economic activity and contribute to investments needed for aging infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the Trump administration’s recent budget framework threatens many of these programs with cuts or elimination at a time when it is most important to support the infrastructure needs of communities. While the details are still unclear, the proposed 31 percent, 21 percent, 16 percent and 12 percent cuts to the EPA, Agriculture, COE and Interior, respectively, leave little room to adequately fund important programs to address the needs identified by ASCE.
That is former Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor in The Hill, the whole thing is worth reading.