President Trump signed the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 into law in October 2018. What does this mean for the construction industry?
The America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 authorizes $6 Billion in federal funds for water infrastructure projects that can help sustain drinking water systems, dams, reservoirs, and ports across the country.
Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, John Barrasso, said, “America needs comprehensive water infrastructure legislation that will cut Washington red tape, create jobs and keep communities safe.”
From a construction perspective, this bill could mean more potential job opportunities for your company.
Hydropower & Dam Projects
For those with work on dams and hydropower projects, over 15 sections of interest are included in the bill.
“The U.S. Senate reaffirmed its commitment to clean, renewable hydropower, as these provisions will assist our industry growth, support investments in the existing system, and strengthen the resiliency of our nation’s grid,” said Linda Church Ciocci, NHA President and CEO. “Just two years ago, the U.S. Department of Energy released a landmark report demonstrating that U.S. hydropower has immense growth potential. However, that growth has been stifled by outdated licensing and regulatory policies. The measures included in AWIA are meaningful steps forward. With these legislative improvements, we now have an opportunity to more efficiently develop new projects that add generation to non-powered dams, closed-loop pumped storage, and conduit power projects.”
Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects
“The U.S. water sector is enormously fragmented with over 53,000 community drinking water systems. To put that number in perspective, nationwide there are only 3,300 energy utilities. As a result, many smaller and municipally-owned water systems find themselves struggling to meet water quality standards, which puts community health at risk,” said NAWC president and CEO Robert Powelson. “Increasingly, some systems lack expertise and financial resources to operate and invest in their systems. Consolidation, partnerships and a more integrated approach can help achieve economies of scale and facilitate capital attraction, as well as technological and financial viability. The ‘America’s Water Infrastructure Act’ is a step in the right direction.”
Coastal Protection from Weather Events
$2.2 Billion will be allocated to the Coastal Spine Project of Galveston Bay Texas. The Coastal Spine Project was originally conceived by Professor Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston to reduce damage from a devastating storm surge. The project seeks to add surge gates to the Galveston sea wall and extend protection to the entire Houston-Galveston region during hurricanes. Texas officials and the Army Corps of Engineers developed a $23 billion to $32 billion plan for a “coastal spine” system of flood protection and draining infrastructure to protect the Texas Gulf Coast.
Congress passing the Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 paved the way for infrastructure sustainability in the U.S. Construction firms will be looked to as key players in helping to implement these necessities now and in the future.