Rosen, Cortez Masto Introduce Bills to Further Efforts to Combat Drought, Protect Lake Mead

WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced two pieces of legislation to help continue to combat drought in Nevada and protect Lake Mead. To support the growing interest in wastewater recycling following the funding Senator Cortez Masto secured as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Senators have introduced legislation to provide an additional $500 million to the Competitive Grant Program for Large-Scale Water Recycling in the IIJA. They’ve also introduced legislation to provide additional funding to support erosion control projects around the Las Vegas Wash.

“We must take swift action to combat and reverse the damage that severe drought is causing all across our state,” said Senator Rosen. “These bills will help our efforts to recycle and reuse water and prevent the erosion and depletion of our state’s waterways. Senator Cortez Masto and I are committed to ensuring that Nevadans have access to clean water now and in the future.”

“Nevada’s drought impacts every corner of the state, and I’ve led the way on sensible solutions to conserve our resources and address drought long-term,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “We need to protect Nevadans into the future and keep water in Lake Mead by continuing to increase our capacity for wastewater recycling and keeping up with vital water infrastructure projects.”

The wastewater recycling legislation, cosponsored by Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), authorizes an additional $500 million to the Competitive Grant Program for Large-Scale Water Recycling by raising the eligible amount in the bill ($450 million) by $500 million and extending the length of the grant program in order to better facilitate the increasing long-term investment needs to fund large-scale water recycling projects in the drought-stricken Western United States. 

The Senators also introduced a bill to authorize an additional $25 million for the Las Vegas Wash program to continue to support the work of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Bureau of Reclamation in erosion control, revegetation efforts, scientific studies, and biological restoration activities. The wash is a critical element in addressing the overall environmental and water resource challenges facing Southern Nevada by helping to clean the urban runoff and wastewater that runs through the valley into Lake Mead.

Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen have diligently worked to combat drought and support water infrastructure. Earlier this year, Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen pushed for the Senate to protect Nevada’s drinking water through the Senate passage of the Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure ActThey were also instrumental in passing the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act. That legislation was signed into law on April 16, 2019, and requires the Department of the Interior to carry out the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan signed by the seven Colorado River Basin states, including Nevada.