Publish Date: Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Risch, Kelly Introduce Bill to Boost Access to Clean Water with Smart Water Technologies

Released on December 6, 2021




Risch, Kelly Introduce Bill to Boost Access to Clean Water with Smart Water Technologies

December 6, 2021

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) introduced new legislation to boost access to clean and reliable water for families and businesses by supporting investments in smart water technologies that make water and wastewater systems more resilient. 


The Water Infrastructure Modernization Act authorizes a five-year EPA grant program to help municipal water systems and publicly owned wastewater treatments systems make investments in smart water technologies, like pipeline monitoring, real-time leak detection technologies, smart meters, and other technologies that use artificial intelligence and intelligent optimization tools. As a result, this bill would not only work to modernize water networks but also lower up-front costs, decrease ongoing operating costs, and improve the delivery of safe and reliable water supplies for families and businesses across the country. 


With an estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of treated drinking water lost due to aging water infrastructure each year, investments in smart water technologies can also help water utilities detect and prevent leaks, which is especially critical in regions with ongoing drought conditions.


“Access to clean drinking water and wastewater treatment technologies is important for all communities, but the challenges rural areas face weren’t taken into account when federal regulations on water systems were written,” said Risch. “This bill will help ensure communities throughout Idaho have access to the clean drinking water and modernized water treatment systems they need.”


“Our bipartisan legislation would boost and improve access to clean and reliable water by investing in smart water technologies that help Arizona families and businesses conserve and use water more efficiently,” said Kelly. “As Arizonans begin to see investments from our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, it is critical that we continue to invest in making our state’s water and wastewater infrastructure more efficient and resilient for generations to come.”


“We are very appreciative for Senator Risch’s help and assistance to the state’s small and rural communities that are trying to provide safe and clean water to their citizens every day by sponsoring the 'Water Infrastructure Modernization Act.' The legislation will help local communities advance the use of innovative and new technological solutions to address their water challenges. This should be especially beneficial to rural communities because small and rural communities often struggle to comply with all the mandates and meet local water needs. Water quality is one of the most pressing public health concerns in rural Idaho, and the other states, and essential for long-term economic sustainability. However, due to a lack of economies of scale, it is often more difficult for small towns to comply with federal rules, afford the latest technology, and have access to technical experts. Senator Risch has long supported these types of rural initiatives that are results oriented, non-regulatory, less bureaucratic, less expensive and result in better water. Small communities thank the Senator for sponsoring the bill," said Shelley Roberts, Executive Director of the Idaho Rural Water Association.


The bipartisan legislation is also supported by national organizations including the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA), the WateReuse Association, and Water Environment Federation.


You can read the full text of the legislation here.


# # #


Theme picker