October 10, 2018

Hoeven Welcomes Passage Of America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA)

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA), welcomed Senate passage of S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) today.

“America’s Water Infrastructure Act will help facilitate critical water resources development projects in Indian Country. These projects include improving aging irrigation systems, enhancing dam safety and flood protections, and helping ensure access to clean drinking water,” said Hoeven. “These projects fulfill important treaty and trust obligations to Indian Tribes.”

Indian provisions included in America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) include the following:

Increases in appropriations for the Tribal Partnership Program, which includes water resource development projects that will benefit Tribes.
Enables the Blackfeet tribe to access funding to complete a range of water-related infrastructure projects on Tribal lands.
Directs the Secretary of the Army, in consultation with the Secretary of the Interior, to examine and assess the degree to which Tribes have been displaced as a result of the construction of three dams in Oregon.
Indian Irrigation fund reauthorization

Reauthorizes the Indian Irrigation Fund through September 30, 2028.
Requires the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to continue submitting reports to Congress about how to address deferred maintenance needs and utilize the same prioritization criteria for Indian irrigation funding through Fiscal Year 2028.

Indian Dam Safety Reauthorization

Extends the “High-Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund” and the “Low-Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund” through Fiscal Year 2030.
Extends the Flood Plain Management Program, which was established by the Secretary of the Interior, by 7 years to December 16, 2027.

Requires the Comptroller General to submit to Congress a report on efforts to relocate Alaska Native Villages due to flooding and erosion threats.
Establishes a pilot program for drinking water systems and wastewater in Indian Country.

The bill passed the House on September 13, 2018. America’s Water Infrastructure Act was introduced in the Senate by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso. Barrasso is also a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. It will now go to the President to be signed into law.