@EPA #WOTUS regs expected this week — H2O Radio @H2OTracker

Colorado River headwaters tributary in Rocky Mountain National Park photo via Greg Hobbs.

Here’s a roundup of water news from H2O Radio. Click through to listen to the whole podcast, “This week in water.” Here’s an excerpt from the transcript:

WOTUS Roll Back in Offing

And speaking of those strategies, it’s expected that this coming week the Trump administration will propose severe restrictions on which bodies of water are covered under the Clean Water Act and regulated by the EPA. The Intercept reports that the proposed definition of waters of the U.S., also called WOTUS, will eliminate protection for streams and wetlands that are not physically connected to larger waterways. One estimate shows that at least 60—and up to 90 percent of streams and wetlands would no longer be covered.

While the policy has not yet been released, leaked information says that streams which are wet only after rain events would be excluded and only wetlands that are adjacent and physically connected to other larger waters would be protected. Jane Goodman of the Cuyahoga River Restoration organization said that by lifting the protections for certain waterways, the administration was disregarding the science that shows their interconnectedness. She said, “It’s like keeping protections for your kitchen sink and for the sewer in the street but taking them away from all the plumbing in between.”

@USDA invests in rural water in #Colorado, 45 other states

Here’s the release from the USDA:

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.2 billion (PDF, 509 KB) to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states.

“Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building prosperity through modern water infrastructure.”

USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

Below are some examples of the investments USDA is making:

  • In Pennsylvania, the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Berlin is receiving a $2.5 million loan to replace the primary water transmission line for the Berlin Municipal Water System. The line was constructed in 1979, is in poor condition, has experienced numerous breaks resulting in boil water notices, and has inadequate water pressure to fight fires. The investment will also help replace water meters. This system serves nearly 1,100 users in Berlin and in Brothers Valley township in Somerset County.
  • The Todd County Water District in Kentucky will receive a $3.2 million loan and a $390,000 grant to construct two miles of water line and a 500,000-gallon water storage tank. The upgrades will provide up to one million gallons per day for a new industrial site just outside of Guthrie. Novelis Industries plans to build an automotive aluminum sheet manufacturing facility that will create approximately 125 jobs. The Todd County Water District serves 3,500 customers.
  • The Bond Water Association Inc. in Winston County, Miss., will use a $1.4 million loan to upgrade its water system. It will build a 300-gallon-per-minute well and replace 28,200 feet of distribution lines. Also, new radio read meters will be installed, and the two water treatment plants will be rehabilitated. These improvements will serve 470 customers.
  • USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

    To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

    USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov.

    Water infrastructure as sidewalk art

    Acequia La Vida ByLaws — Greg Hobbs

    Greg is a restless guy. Here’s his report from acequia country.

    Acequia La Vida

    In late fall, the ancestors
    spread blankets

    of leaves over the bones
    of their ditches

    feeding the river down
    terraces they plant.

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