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WASHINGTON, D.C. – RealEstateRama – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced victories for D.C. included in the House version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2024 after the bill was marked up by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (T&I) today. Norton requested several provisions, all of which were maintained by the T&I Committee during the bill’s markup.

The bill includes a Norton provision making a study on a secondary drinking water source for D.C., which Norton got included in the 2022 WRDA, 100% federally funded. The bill also includes Norton provisions authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct a feasibility study for a project for ecosystem restoration, recreation, dredging and sediment management of the Anacostia River and a feasibility study for a project to improve recreation by dredging Fletcher’s Cove.

“There is an urgent need for Congress to act to protect the drinking water and other infrastructure of the nation’s capital from serious vulnerabilities, and I am pleased the marked up version of the bill contains my provision making the study on the topic 100% federally-funded,” Norton said. “Due to sediment accumulation over time, many parts of the federal navigation channel in the Anacostia do not meet the current formal depth requirements, so I’m pleased my provision for a study on dredging the Anacostia was included in WRDA. A similar problem exists in Fletcher’s Cove on the Potomac River, which I was able to get addressed in the current T&I Committee-passed version of WRDA.”

D.C. is wholly dependent on the Potomac River for its drinking water, but natural or man-made events could render the river unusable for this purpose. The federally owned and operated Washington Aqueduct produces drinking water from the river for D.C. and parts of Virginia. However, the aqueduct maintains only a single day of backup water supply. Many other highly populated metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco have a second source of drinking water, and many are in the planning stages for a third source.

Norton said that she was disappointed that her provision to make the Federal Triangle flood risk management study 100% federally funded was not included in the bill. However, she was pleased with the inclusion of a standalone section affirming the Transportation Secretary’s ability to accept funds contributed by other federal agencies for the study. She got a provision authorizing the study included in the final, enacted WRDA of 2022.

With heavy rain projected to become more frequent due to climate change, the Federal Triangle area is increasingly susceptible to flooding. In June 2006, an intense storm produced flooding in the area, which caused power outages and major disruptions to federal and D.C. operations, forcing closures of local businesses, public transportation hubs and federal buildings. Smaller but still significant storms in the area in 2018, 2019 and 2020 resulted in closures of Constitution Avenue, power and transportation disruptions and flooding of buildings. The study included in WRDA of 2022 would be conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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