May 20, 2014 
Press Release
Water Resources Bill & New Grant to Improve Local Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) announced two positive developments for San Diego’s regional water infrastructure: grant funding for the Sweetwater Authority to expand their desalination facility and passage of the “Water Resources Reform and Development Act” (WRRDA).

After Rep. Peters’ efforts last fall, the Bureau of Reclamation has selected the Sweetwater Authority’s Water Reclamation Project to receive a $1.5 million grant to expand their Reynolds Facility desalination plant. The expanded capacity will reduce water imports and, through an agreement with the City of San Diego, will provide many consumers across San Diego County with locally-produced water.

“This grant will help reduce our region’s reliance on imported water and improve our local water security, an effort that will only become more important as we combat the harmful drought that our state is facing,” Rep. Peters said regarding the Sweetwater grant. “I’m also proud that this expanded capacity will benefit users across multiple water jurisdictions, including those in the 52nd District.”

This year’s WRRDA, the first since 2007, is a bipartisan effort that provides key funding for water and ports infrastructure, including at the Unified Port of San Diego. The agreement, which passed unanimously in conference committee between the House and Senate last week, and passed the whole House 412-4 today, cuts burdensome regulatory red tape while simultaneously protecting the environment. Importantly it fully allocates the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is used for dredging, berthing, environmental sediment clean ups, and other port upgrades, and it includes provisions that fund pilot programs for water resource infrastructure projects.

“Our ports and waterways are central to the San Diego region’s economic growth and competitiveness,” Rep. Peters said about the WRRDA report. “This bipartisan agreement on WRRDA will help upgrade ports nationwide and create high-quality jobs in the process.”

The bill also includes language Rep. Peters added last year, which makes the Army Corps of Engineers coordinate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide local governments and the public with information on areas where they are managing flood risk. This streamlined coordination, especially during emergency situations, will save taxpayer dollars and potentially lives.