EPA Announces Federal Working Group to Strengthen Coordination on Water Reuse and Integrated Water Resources Management Approaches

May 31, 2022

WateReuse Association applauds announcement

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing a Water Reuse Interagency Working Group, which was established under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Section 50218). The Working Group is composed of senior officials from 15 federal agencies, and is charged with developing and coordinating actions, tools, and resources to advance water reuse across the country.

“Water is an essential resource that we must protect, especially in the wake of climate change impacts such as drought,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The historic investment in our nation’s waters through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help communities of all sizes build toward a more resilient future. The Water Reuse Working Group will foster improved federal coordination on integrated water management strategies such as reuse.”

The WateReuse Association applauds the EPA announcement. WateReuse led a coalition of water utilities, businesses, and other stakeholders to urge the establishment of this task force and worked to have it enacted as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. WateReuse will continue to support the Working Group in breaking down silos, leveraging resources throughout the federal family, and facilitating stakeholder engagement on water recycling.

“Water reuse is a multi-benefit solution that can expand water supplies, protect the environment, reduce costs, and improve resiliency in our communities,” said WateReuse Association Executive Director Patricia Sinicropi. “WateReuse Association is proud of our role in advancing this collaborative approach to unlocking the full potential of water reuse in the United States.”

The federal agencies participating in the working group with EPA include: Council on Environmental Quality; Office of Management and Budget; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Federal Emergency Management Agency; General Services Administration; U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Army Public Health Center; Department of Energy; U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; U.S. Geological Survey; U.S. Department of State. They will be collaborating with states, Tribes and water sector partners to advance the National Water Reuse Action Plan by building capacity for communities pursuing water reuse.

“The Department of the Interior is pleased to be a partner in the federal Water Reuse Interagency Working Group,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “Adequate, resilient, and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health and economy of our nation, and investments in water recycling and reuse are a key to stretching limited water supplies. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes significant investment in Reclamation’s Desalination and Water Purification Research and WaterSMART Programs to further water reuse research, project development, and implementation.”

“Effective water management saves energy and is a critical part of our equitable clean energy future,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “We are thrilled to collaborate across the federal government through the Water Reuse Interagency Working Group. Together, we will innovate our way to widespread water reuse and resource recovery for American communities.”

EPA will capture Working Group activities and findings in a biannual report to Congress, beginning in 2024. The Working Group will remain active until at least 2028 and can be extended at the discretion of the Chair.

Click here to find more information on this effort, including duties and participants

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