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H.R. 5659 (113th): Savings Act

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 18, 2014 (Introduced).


I

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5659

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 18, 2014

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To reduce Federal, State, and local costs of providing high-quality drinking water to millions of Americans residing in rural communities by facilitating greater use of cost-effective well water systems, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Water Supply Cost Savings Act or the Savings Act .

2.

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

the United States is facing a drinking water infrastructure funding crisis; the Environmental Protection Agency (the EPA ) projects a $384 billion shortfall in funding over the next 20 years; and this funding challenge is particularly acute in rural America;

(2)

there are 52,000 community water systems in the United States, of which 41,801 are small community water systems;

(3)

EPA’s most recent Drinking Water Needs Survey placed the shortfall in drinking water infrastructure funding for small communities (3,300 or fewer persons) at $64.5 billion;

(4)

small communities often cannot finance the construction and maintenance of drinking water systems because the cost per resident for this investment would be prohibitively expensive;

(5)

drought conditions have placed significant strains on existing surface water supplies, and many communities across the country are now considering the use of groundwater and community well systems to provide drinking water; and

(6)

42 million Americans receive their drinking water from individual wells, and millions more rely upon community well systems for their drinking water.

3.

Sense of Congress

It is the sense of the Congress that—

(1)

providing rural communities with the knowledge and resources necessary to fully utilize wells and community well systems can save local, State, and Federal governments and taxpayers billions of dollars over the next two decades;

(2)

wells and community well systems can provide safe and affordable drinking water to millions of Americans; and

(3)

the Federal Government lacks the resources to finance the drinking water infrastructure needs of millions of citizens residing in rural America, and wells and community well systems can help significantly to close this funding gap.

4.

Drinking water technology clearinghouse

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of Agriculture shall—

(1)

update existing programs of the Agency and the Department of Agriculture designed to provide drinking water technical assistance to include information on cost-effective, innovative, and alternative drinking water delivery systems, including systems that are supported by wells; and

(2)

disseminate information on the cost effectiveness of wells and well systems to communities and not-for-profit organizations seeking Federal funding for drinking water systems serving 3,300 or fewer persons.

5.

Water system assessment

In any application for a Federal grant or loan for a drinking water system serving 3,300 or fewer persons, a unit of local government or not-for-profit organization shall certify that it has considered, as an alternative drinking water supply, drinking water delivery systems sourced by publicly owned individual wells, shared wells, and community wells.

6.

Report to Congress

Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of Agriculture shall report to Congress on—

(1)

the utilization of innovative and alternative drinking water systems described in this Act;

(2)

the range of cost savings for communities utilizing innovative and alternative drinking water systems described in this Act; and

(3)

the utilization of drinking water technical assistance programs operated by the Agency and the Department.