Tester Leads Critical Water Infrastructure Legislation to President’s Desk

Senator Jon Tester today helped lead a bipartisan water infrastructure bill through the Senate and onto the President’s desk to be signed into law.

The Water Infrastructure Improvements Act for the Nation (WIIN) Act authorizes the historic Blackfeet Water Compact in addition to other critical water infrastructure initiatives that will update drinking and wastewater systems. WIIN also upgrades flood control infrastructure and invests in stream and river restoration through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Civil Works Program.

“The most important natural resource we have is clean water, and this bipartisan bill will help make critical investments in our nation’s aging water infrastructure,” Tester said. “This jobs bill will help upgrade drinking and waste water systems, reduce flood risks and protect our world-class fishing streams, and give local farmers and ranchers a boost by investing in ports and waterways that will ensure Montana’s ag products get to market.”

WIIN includes a series of provisions that will address the water infrastructure needs of Montana communities. The bill will:

  • Increase resources available to rural communities to upgrade safe drinking water infrastructure.
  • Establish new grants for communities to reduce lead in drinking water.
  • Support watercraft inspection stations in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species like zebra and quagga mussels.
  • Improve snowpack and drought monitoring in the Upper Missouri River Basin-including Montana.
  • Establish a pilot program for innovative measures for preventing and mitigating flood damages associated with ice jams, with a priority on projects in Upper Missouri River basin states like Montana 
  • Require that any infrastructure projects funded by WIIN use iron and steel that is made in America.
  • Establish direct funding to fix the contaminated water in Flint, Michigan.
  • Authorize 30 infrastructure projects to address flood control, improve ports and waterways, and restore ecosystems across the country.
  • Allow for partnerships in order to direct additional funds toward management of Corps of Engineers recreation sites

WIIN also includes a provision Tester co-authored to provide local governments with information on cost-saving water system options like community well systems.

WIIN has now been passed by both chambers of Congress, and is expected to be signed into law by the President.