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EPA Announces First Update on National Water Reuse Action Plan Implementation

07/23/2020
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON (July 23, 2020) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the first update on the collaborative implementation of the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP) that was launched on February 27, 2020. The update highlights expeditious and meaningful progress that EPA and its partners across the water user community have made to advance consideration of water reuse and ensure the security, sustainability and resilience of our nation's water resources.

"With 40 states anticipating some freshwater shortages within their borders over the next decade, the nation needed a collaborative action plan that included near-term and long-term goals and focused on accountability," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. "The first update under the National Water Reuse Action Plan shows the sustained commitment of EPA and our incredible partners and highlights the extraordinary progress that's already been made."

Earlier this year, EPA, the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Energy, White House Council on Environmental Quality, and other federal, state, tribal and local representatives of the water user community released the National Water Reuse Action Plan: Collaborative Implementation. The action plan included 37 actions with more than 200 distinct implementation milestones.

In the challenging months since the Action Plan's release, more than 80 milestones have been completed as action teams have held virtual kickoff convenings, explored cross-action collaborative opportunities and thought critically about how to integrate water reuse into new and existing programs. This progress is highlighted through the WRAP Online Platform, which promotes transparency and accountability by reflecting the current implementation status for all 37 actions.

Nearly 300 updates have already been integrated into the online platform. Noteworthy activities include:

Collaboration between federal entities, states and state associations to design and develop a compilation of existing fit-for-purpose specifications for various sources of water and uses.

An interactive global water reuse live webchat, co-hosted by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs and the Bureau of Global Public Affairs on World Water Day (March 19, 2020). Webinar watch parties were hosted at embassies, consulates, and American spaces in 11 different countries (over 250 individual viewers) with a concentration in South and Central Asia.

$15 million in Conservation Innovation Grant funding, announced on April 28, 2020 by USDA to support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. This is the first time that water reuse has been included as a priority area within the program.

The Water Security Grand Challenge's recent selection of ten Phase 1 winners for their Water Resource Recovery Prize and announcement of a $20 million funding opportunity to improve water and wastewater treatment system infrastructure. These two efforts accelerate resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States.

"It is critical that we address the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water resources," said Daniel R Simmons, Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Our recent selections for the Water Resource Recovery Prize and research funding will lead to cost-effective and innovative solutions that achieve progress towards the federal goal of doubling water resource recovery by 2030."

"Through our Conservation Innovation Grants, we will be able to co-invest with partners in the future of agricultural conservation solutions, including water reuse," said Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at USDA. "We are excited to continue working with our Federal family on water conservation."

"OES at the U.S. Department of State is pleased with the success of our partnership with the EPA on the recently launched Water Reuse Action Plan. Between February and May 2020, we advanced efforts to raise awareness and build capacity for water reuse globally through a webinar series and collaboration with other U.S. government agencies and our colleagues at U.S. embassies and consulates. This is a prime opportunity to share U.S. knowledge and innovation abroad, and we look forward to continued collaboration on the WRAP's objectives," said Jonathan Moore, Senior Bureau Official for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

In October 2019, EPA established the position of National Program Leader for Water Reuse to drive the development and implementation of the National Water Reuse Action Plan in collaboration with federal, state, tribal and local representatives. EPA is announcing that Dr. Sharon Nappier will succeed Jeff Lape as the new National Program Leader for Water Reuse and will sustain EPA's leadership on national efforts to advance water reuse technologies into the future.

The first update on the collaborative implementation of the National Water Reuse Action Plan is available at https://www.epa.gov/waterreuse/national-water-reuse-action-plan-quarterly-update-1.

For more information, including opportunities to engage with EPA on this effort and to follow implementation progress, visit: https://www.epa.gov/waterreuse/water-reuse-action-plan.

Background

The National Water Reuse Action Plan supports President Trump's memorandum on Promoting a Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West and will help advance water reuse technology that has the potential to ensure the viability of our water economy for generations to come. The National Water Reuse Action Plan is a collaborative effort that represents the first initiative of its magnitude to be coordinated across the water user community and builds on more than four decades of water reuse experience and practice. It frames the business case that water reuse is a viable and growing means of supporting our economy and improving the availability of freshwater for farmers, industry, communities and ecosystems.