Inhofe, Boxer Introduce the Water Resources Development Act of 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and Barbara Boxer (D-CA), ranking member of the Senate EPW Committee, introduced S. 2848, The Water Resources Development Act of 2016:

“The Constitution tasks Congress with the responsibility for maintaining our nation’s critical infrastructure and advancing commerce,” Inhofe said. “Each year, $1.4 trillion worth of goods moves through our nation’s ports, and this number will only grow as our trade volume is expected to double within a decade. In order to set our economy up for success, Congress must provide steady support and thorough oversight of our inland water and marine transportation system by authorizing WRDA every two years. This year, our bill prioritizes projects that will deepen ports to increase our global competitive advantage, will provide protection from disastrous flood waters, and will help to restore our nation’s critical ecosystems. WRDA will also address our nation’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure by supporting federal programs that encourage local and private investment, and reform existing authorities to allow states to partner with the federal government when necessary to help disadvantaged or high-risk communities address their water resource needs. By building upon the robust reforms in WRRDA 2014, our bipartisan legislation provides needed investments in America’s infrastructure to support our communities and expand our economy.”

“I am so pleased that once again our Committee is proving that we can work in a bipartisan way to address the infrastructure needs of our nation,” Boxer said.  “What happened in Flint has shown us how vulnerable some our water systems are, and this bill is a perfect vehicle to upgrade our water infrastructure.  In addition, many projects have been approved by the Corps of Engineers, and we need to authorize those.  In my own home state, that includes projects to revitalize the Los Angeles River and to restore wetlands in San Francisco Bay and protect communities from flooding.  In addition to aging infrastructure, we also must address areas that have been adversely impacted by extremes in weather, such as droughts and floods.  This bill promotes new and innovative technologies to respond to these challenges, including desalination and water recycling.  I hope Senators McConnell and Reid will move this bill forward as soon as possible after we go through the committee process.”


The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) authorizes 25 critical Army Corps projects in 17 states.  These projects, which have undergone Congressional scrutiny and have completed reports of the Chief of Engineers, will strengthen our nation’s infrastructure to protect lives and property, restore vital ecosystems to preserve our natural heritage, and maintain navigation routes for commerce and the movement of goods to keep us competitive in the global marketplace. 

The bill provides critical investment in the country’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, assists poor and disadvantaged communities in meeting public health standards under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and promotes innovative technologies to address drought and other critical water resource needs.  The bill also responds to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, by providing emergency assistance to Flint and other similar communities across the country facing drinking water contamination.

To read a three page summary of the bill, click here.

To read a full section by section of the bill, click here.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.