U.S. CONGRESS – U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester and Congressman Greg Gianforte today reintroduced a bipartisan bill to provide much-needed authorization for Montana rural water infrastructure.
“The fact of the matter is that thousands of Montanans still lack access to steady safe drinking water,” Daines stated. “Water is a basic necessity for any community. We depend on a steady supply to provide clean drinking water, irrigate our crops, water our livestock and provide energy through hydropower. That’s why it’s so important that we get this bill passed.”
“Unfortunately, not all Montanans have access to a reliable supply of water,” Gianforte said. “This critical bipartisan legislation will improve Montana’s water infrastructure and better ensure that more than 20,000 Montanans in our rural communities have a steady supply of water for drinking and agriculture.”
“Every Montanan deserves reliable access to clean water,” Tester said. “This important legislation will pave the way for new water infrastructure investments that will boost access to clean water, create good jobs, and support Montana’s farmers and ranchers.”
The Clean Water for Rural Communities Act impacts two Bureau of Reclamation rural water projects critical to Montana: the Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System and the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System. The bill authorizes the Musselshell-Judith Rural Water System, which will facilitate water treatment and delivery to more than 4,500 Montanans in portions of Judith Basin, Wheatland, Golden Valley, Musselshell, Fergus, and Yellowstone Counties. The bill authorizes the Dry-Redwater Regional Water Authority System to continue working with the Bureau of Reclamation to complete their feasibility study.
Though several rural water projects have already received Congressional authorization, they struggle to receive the funds needed to complete construction in a timely and efficient manner. Between 1980 and 2007, Congress directed the Bureau to undertake 11 specific rural water supply projects, some of which remain uncompleted. There currently is no predictable funding for the remaining projects, because construction funding must be secured annually through the appropriations process and there is a significant backlog in construction funding for these projects.
Daines and Tester also introduced the Clean Water for Rural Communities Act in the 115th and 114th U.S. Congress.
Gianforte introduced the Clean Water for Rural Communities Act in the House in the 115th Congress.