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senate Bill S. 176

Fighting The Drought With Grant Funding And Rebates

Argument in favor

This bill offers long-term solutions to a drought that will only get worse with time. Promoting water conservation, research, and efficiency will not only help the public plan for current water shortages, but lessen the impact of future droughts.

BananaNeil's Opinion
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04/06/2015
This bill is awesome - it creates jobs, helps the environment, expands our scientific knowledge base, and prevents a major economic and agricultural catastrophe.
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kveldheer's Opinion
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04/07/2015
California is the largest agriculture provider in the country. Without water the farmers won't be able to grow their crops creating a shortage and raising food prices for all. It's a nationwide problem not just that of a few states.
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Hameltor's Opinion
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04/06/2015
In our current economic situation, what effects California effects you. We're all in this together
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Argument opposed

Why should every taxpayer in the U.S. have to foot the bill for water conservation in a few choice states? Also, shouldn't the answer just be rationing? Why should it cost over a billion dollars to tell people in the southwest to take shorter showers?

Paul's Opinion
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04/07/2015
80% of California's water use is agricultural, only 20% is everything else. Rationing everyone other than agriculture doesn't yield much saving. Reducing agricultural usage by 20% would yield almost as much saved use as eliminating everything else. So, naturally, they ask everything else to save and kow-tow to the corporate growers like Nestle and Dole.
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raucreativity's Opinion
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04/07/2015
Government is already over spending, and we don't need to bail out states that can't manage their own budgets. How will they learn if we keep giving them money?
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ThomasParker's Opinion
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05/23/2015
The only problems with any lack of resources are due to government regulations.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Environment and Public Works
    IntroducedJanuary 13th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 176?

In response to the severe drought in California and the American southwest, this bill would expand rebates and grants for water efficiency, support water recycling and groundwater management investments, re-authorize water research programs, and create an open water data system.


First, the bill would create a "WaterSense program" to identify and promote water efficient products, services, buildings/facilities and processes.


The program would be run by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who would offer grants to people and companies who are actively trying to conserve the nation's water quality and quantity.  Aside from running the grant program, the EPA would also have to outline voluntary national drought guidelines to help the public prepare for water shortages. 


The bill would authorize the Department of the Interior to financially support water projects (like water recycling, infrastructure, desalination, and storage) in states like California, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, and many others. 


An open water data system would also be created by the U.S. Geological Survey to make water research and assessment information more widely accessible. The Water Desalination Act of 1996 and water research and technology institutes through the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 would be extended through 2020.

Impact

People who live in U.S. regions impacted by drought, taxpayers, water conservation organizations, supplies, and services, desalination efforts, water research and technologies, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 176

$1.95 Billion
According to the bill text, S. 176 would authorize, for the WaterSense program, $100,000,000 for FY2015; $150,000,000 for FY2016; $200,000,000 for FY2017; $150,000,000 for FY2018; $100,000,000 for FY2019; and a similar "applicable amount" adjusted for changes for the years that follow. An article in The Desert Sun cites that this legislation authorizes the use of $1.95 billion in loans and grants over five years.

More Information

Of Note:

The drought in California, now in its fourth year has gone from a joke about "classic California weather," to stirring serious concerns and advocacy efforts. As the New York Times notes in a profile of the Golden State's misfortunes: 
"The 25 percent cut in water consumption ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown raises fundamental questions about what life in California will be like in the years ahead, and even whether this state faces the prospect of people leaving for wetter climates — assuming, as Mr. Brown and other state leaders do, that this marks a permanent change in the climate, rather than a particularly severe cyclical drought." 

In Depth: 

This bill would also mandate the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prepare a salmon drought plan for California.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would also be authorized to respond to requests from the private sector about overseeing reservoir operations, and — if appropriate — help bring the water control manuals up to speed with weather and runoff forecasting. 


Media:

Sponsoring Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Press Release

Sponsoring Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) Press Release (H.R. 291)

The Desert Sun 

Vote Smart (House Version)

ContractorMag.com (In Favor)

McClatchy DC 

SF Gate (Previous Bill Version)

NPR (Context)

New York Times (Context)


(Photo Credit: Flickr user JoeInSouthernCA

AKA

W21

Official Title

A bill to advance integrated water management and development through innovation, resiliency, conservation, and efficiency in the 21st century, and for other purposes.

    This bill is awesome - it creates jobs, helps the environment, expands our scientific knowledge base, and prevents a major economic and agricultural catastrophe.
    Like (29)
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    80% of California's water use is agricultural, only 20% is everything else. Rationing everyone other than agriculture doesn't yield much saving. Reducing agricultural usage by 20% would yield almost as much saved use as eliminating everything else. So, naturally, they ask everything else to save and kow-tow to the corporate growers like Nestle and Dole.
    Like (13)
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    California is the largest agriculture provider in the country. Without water the farmers won't be able to grow their crops creating a shortage and raising food prices for all. It's a nationwide problem not just that of a few states.
    Like (20)
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    In our current economic situation, what effects California effects you. We're all in this together
    Like (19)
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    Water efficiency research will benefit all states and assist farmers in California who sell their produce to the rest of the United States.
    Like (15)
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    We should consider these projects as pilots for more to come due to climate change.
    Like (9)
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    This is just the beginning. We can use these resources and information gained to help protect water in all 50 states. Be leaders! You will be asking for this money when it's your state. Needs specific rules, for spending
    Like (7)
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    Government is already over spending, and we don't need to bail out states that can't manage their own budgets. How will they learn if we keep giving them money?
    Like (6)
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    The only problems with any lack of resources are due to government regulations.
    Like (6)
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    Providing solutions to water and related issues will help all communities and not just the ones struggling. By banding together and helping develop new technologies to improve water control and usage we are promoting a more efficient and prosperous America.
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    We should take care of each other in this county, paying taxes to help other people is the right thing to do. Water shortages will spread and have consequences all
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    Isn't it time to start real water conservation with no private pools and with low or no water landscape
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    Ostensibly this bill looks like pork but it will serve as a model for other states as freshwater levels decrease nationwide.
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    This was no surprise to these communities, it's coming on for years. Saving water doesn't cost billions, which could be spent on poverty initiatives. This is more well intended money that will end up in special interest hands.
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    Take care of your own back yard California and leave the rest of the nation alone. You public officials have made your bed with the environmental edicts so you need to sleep in it. Try building some reservoirs on your own. It could only help!
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    Stop fracking, which caused the drought in CA
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    The need for pure water is a universal problem, not just california. We need to act like a nation and come together to solve our problems or next time your state is on its own if that's the way it is...
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    California does not need the entire country to pay for their overuse of water on crops. If almonds and alfalfa need more water than CA has, maybe it's time to diversify crops.
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    It should be handled at the state level. My hope is that it will force them to be better stewards of what they have. California has a lot of smart people, they don't need the Federal Gov to solve this problem.
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    This isn't an issue isolated to California. I'm all for free market solutions but it's critical to reduce the effects of draught at its source, to prevent those problems from spreading to the rest of the country
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