Duarte introduces bipartisan bill to fund water technology subsidies

Last week, Rep. John Duarte (R – Modesto) introduced the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Modernization Act to create federal grant programs aimed at increasing the use of smart water technologies.

Duarte partnered with Arizona Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego to draft the bill.

Overview: The Water Infrastructure Modernization Act would provide $50 million in new EPA funding for grants that water utilities can use to purchase and implement new technologies.

This technology includes water loss identification, pipe integrity review, leak detection, weather preparedness, and innovation of water storage systems, among others. The grants would be split into two programs over a five-year period.

By the Numbers: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, aging and outdated infrastructure results in the loss of 2.1 trillion gallons of treated drinking water and 900 billion gallons of untreated wastewater nationwide each year.

These infrastructure problems served as the driving force behind the development of the bill by Duarte and Gallego.

Go further: grant programs would reserve 20% of funds for communities of up to 10,000 people. An additional 10% would be reserved for tribal communities.

What they’re saying: “I think these are low-impact improvements that could produce a million more acres of water for California, which is a big deal,” Duarte said. “Today, with the same infrastructure we had in place 20 years ago, we are actually providing 2.5 million acre-feet less water than before. So hopefully with the new technology we can get back at least closer to where we were.

Duarte said he was happy to cross the aisle and partner with Gallego on the bill to work on “sense solutions to increase our water availability.” “It’s $50 million,” Duarte said. “It won’t be about building entirely new dams, but in his district as in mine, we have a lot of infrastructure that just needs upgrading. We have to apply certain technologies. There are many flow technologies, automated weirs that can improve efficiency.

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