WASHINGTON — With concerns mounting over extreme weather, a new bill in the U.S. Senate would offer grants for cities to upgrade their water systems.
The act would make available $50 million a year for five years. The money would be divided among communities that can demonstrate need and come up with half the money on their own to upgrade water towers, pipelines, sewage plants or flood systems.
Sponsors said the bill would help adapt to changes in water conditions. In Nevada and parts of the West, that would be drought. In other parts of the country, it could be floods or catastrophic storms.
The bill may be considered as standalone legislation, or it might be added to a water resources bill the Senate passed in May and that the House may take up next month, congressional officials said.
The measure was introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Harry Reid, D-Nev.
“Years ago, when I was asked by a reporter what I thought was the biggest challenge facing Nevada, I said water,” Reid said in a statement.
“In Southern Nevada, Lake Mead is at risk of dropping to a dangerously low elevation.
“This bill would provide for much needed funding opportunities to help adapt to the impacts that climate change and extreme weather have on our nation’s water infrastructure,” Reid said.