Rounds Votes to Advance Legislation to Benefit South Dakota’s Water Resources
Water Resources Development Act passes out of EPW Committee with Bipartisan Support
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today voted to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA) out of committee.
“Water is one of our most precious natural resources,” said Rounds. “In South Dakota, we rely on the Missouri River system for energy, agriculture, recreation and more. The legislation we passed out of committee today includes provisions to improve water management and make certain we are being proper stewards of our waterways. Additionally, it will give the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers the direction it needs to better manage the Missouri River and prevent a major flood event in the future.”
The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 authorizes 25 critical Army Corps projects in 17 states, including South Dakota. These projects will strengthen our nation’s infrastructure to protect lives and property, restore vital ecosystems and maintain navigation routes for commerce to keep the United States globally competitive.
It includes a provision that requires the Army Corps to respond to requests for contracts for surplus water from reservoirs on the Upper Missouri River within 60 days. It also includes a section specifically directing the Army Corps to be the lead agency for the snowpack and drought monitoring program authorized in the 2014 WRDA and directing the Army Corps to carry out a pilot program related to sediment management in the Upper Missouri River Basin.
Rounds held an EPW subcommittee field hearing in North Sioux City last month at which Army Corps officials testified, saying their agency lacked the appropriate direction from Congress to implement the snowpack and drought monitoring program that was authorized in 2014. The passage of today’s legislation will give them the direction they need to follow through on that program.