Water Infrastructure Legislation in the 116th
Congress: EPA, Reclamation, and U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers Provisions
June 26, 2020
Legislation in the 116th Congress addresses water infrastructure activities of several federal agencies,
including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). This Insight highlights water infrastructure programs and
authorities administered by these agencies that are included in three bil s:
Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2; Rules Committee Print 116-54),
Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (DWIA 2020; S. 3590), and
America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 (AWIA 2020; S. 3591).
The final section of the Insight identifies other water-related topics addressed in the Moving Forward Act
and AWIA 2020, including authorities for other agencies.
Environmental Protection Agency in Moving Forward
Act, DWIA 2020, and AWIA 2020
EPA administers several wastewater and drinking water infrastructure programs. These include the Clean
Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)
programs—both of which are implemented by the states—and the Water Infrastructure Finance and
Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, among other programs.
AWIA 2020 would direct EPA to establish (subject to appropriations) several new grant programs for
wastewater infrastructure projects. Program objectives vary and include resiliency and efficiency at
wastewater facilities and support for projects in lower-income or smal er population communities. AWIA
would reauthorize appropriations for the CWSRF and require states to use not less than 10% of their
annual grants to provide additional subsidies (e.g., grants or loan forgiveness) to eligible recipients.
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CWSRF appropriations have included similar provisions since the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5). Additional y, AWIA would reauthorize appropriations for WIFIA and the Alaska
Native Vil ages grant program.
The Moving Forward Act would amend and reauthorize several infrastructure programs, including
programs that have never received appropriations. For several programs, the bil would establish funding
carve-outs for communities with a population less than 10,000. Additional y, it would reauthorize
appropriations for the CWSRF and require states to use not less than 15% of their CWSRF grants for
specific project types (e.g., green infrastructure) and not less than 10% to provide additional subsidies to
eligible recipients. The bil also would amend the CWSRF funding provisions for Indian tribes and U.S.
An EPA-specific drinking water bil , DWIA 2020, would establish grant programs and revise Safe
Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and related assistance programs to support objectives including improving
water system resilience to natural hazards; reducing lead in drinking water; and assisting smal , rural,
disadvantaged and/or tribal systems. Regarding the DWSRF, DWIA would (1) require states to provide
14% of their annual grant as additional subsidies for disadvantaged communities; (2) reauthorize a
DWSRF appropriation set-aside for smal system technical assistance; and (3) expand eligible activities
for the DWSRF emerging contaminant grant program, to include groundwater remediation of per- and
polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Additional y, DWIA would direct EPA to promulgate SDWA
regulations for certain PFAS.
The Moving Forward Act would reauthorize appropriations for the DWSRF program for FY2022 through
FY2025 and remove the fiscal year limitation on the American iron and steel requirement for DWSRF-
funded projects. The bil would reauthorize appropriations for several drinking water programs and
establish a grant program for certain water systems for improvements to remove al detectable PFAS.
Bureau of Reclamation in Moving Forward Act
Pursuant to the Reclamation Act of 1902, Reclamation is responsible for the management and
development of many of the large federal dams and water diversion structures in the 17 conterminous
states west of the Mississippi River. The Moving Forward Act would incorporate portions of draft
Reclamation legislation released earlier this year by Representative Huffman (CA-02), including creation
of a new annual reporting process to identify certain Reclamation projects for potential congressional
authorization. It also would extend and amend an authority under Section 4007 of the WIIN Act (P.L. 114-
322) that provides for construction of new or expanded state and federal y led surface and groundwater
storage projects, and it would extend grant authority for water reuse and recycling and desalination
projects provided under that act. It also would extend authority for several parts of Reclamation’s
The Moving Forward Act incorporates provisions related to certain Indian water rights settlements
involving the federal government. Among other things, it would authorize the Navajo Utah Settlement. It
also would extend in perpetuity (beginning FY2031) $120 mil ion per year in mandatory appropriations
for the Reclamation Water Settlements Fund. These appropriations currently end after FY2029.
USACE in Moving Forward Act and AWIA 2020
Congress has tasked USACE with improving navigation, reducing flood risks, and restoring aquatic
ecosystems. AWIA 2020 would authorize studies, projects, and programs, with authorizations of
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appropriations totaling roughly $9 bil ion. It would expand the agency’s authorities to perform rural water
supply projects and to address aquatic and terrestrial invasive species.
The Moving Forward Act would provide $15 bil ion for USACE’s Construction and Operations and
Maintenance account in addition to annual USACE appropriations.
Commercial navigation users support federal navigation investments through the Inland Waterways Trust
Fund (IWTF) and the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF).
AWIA 2020 would reduce the IWTF contribution to inland waterway construction costs
from 50% to 35%.
In the March 2020 CARES Act (P.L. 116-136), Congress made future discretionary
spending from the HMTF for USACE activities not count toward annual budget caps for
an amount equal to the prior year’s HMTF deposits. The Moving Forward Act would
amend the adjustment to apply to HMTF funds provided to USACE for activities
designated as for harbor operations and maintenance. The HMTF has a $9.6 bil ion
Other Water-Related Provisions in Moving Forward Act
and AWIA 2020
Table 1 identifies other water-related topics addressed in the Moving Forward Act and AWIA 2020,
including authorities for other agencies.
Table 1. Selected Other Water-Related Provisions in Moving Forward Act and AWIA 2020
Moving Forward Act
(H.R. 2; Rules Committee Print 116-54)
Regional restoration initiatives (Division F).
Regional restoration initiatives (Title III).
Tribal water infrastructure (Division L).
Tribal water resource projects and Indian
irrigation infrastructure (Title III).
Nonfederal dam safety and hydropower (Division G).
Coastal resilience fund (Division F).
Nonfederal high hazard dam
rehabilitation (Title I).
Source: CRS using identified legislation.
Nicole T. Carter
Jonathan L. Ramseur
Specialist in Natural Res ources Policy
Specialist in Environmental Policy
Elena H. Humphreys
Charles V. Stern
Analyst in Environmental Policy
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy
Congressional Research Service
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