BOISE – U.S. Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho, introduced new legislation with Arizona Democratic Senator Mark Kelly to authorize a five-year Environmental Protection Agency grant program for smart technology investments in water, according to a press release.
The Water Infrastructure Modernization Law would support municipal water supply systems and public wastewater treatment systems to perform upgrades with smart technologies such as pipeline monitoring, detection real-time leaks, smart meters and other smart design tools. The grant would help lower up-front project costs, lower ongoing operating costs and improve the delivery of a safe and reliable water supply to families and businesses across the country, the statement said.
“Access to safe drinking water and wastewater treatment technologies is important to all communities, but the challenges facing rural areas were not taken into account when drafting federal regulations on wastewater treatment. water supply systems, ”Risch said. “This bill will help ensure that communities in Idaho have access to the clean drinking water and the modernized water treatment systems they need.”
An estimated 2.1 trillion gallons of treated drinking water are lost each year due to aging water infrastructure, and investments in smart water technologies can also help water utilities detect and prevent leaks, which is particularly critical in areas where drought persists, the statement said. .
Shelley Roberts, executive director of the Idaho Rural Water Association, said in the statement that her organization appreciates Risch’s work on the bill.
“This should be particularly beneficial for rural communities, as small rural communities often struggle to comply with all mandates and meet local water needs,” said Roberts. “Water quality is one of the most pressing public health concerns in rural Idaho and other states, and essential for long-term economic sustainability. “
Biparty legislation is also supported by national organizations, including the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the WaterReuse Association, and the Water Environment Federation.
The full text of the legislation can be viewed online.