On Wednesday, 30 July, the House of Representatives passed the Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act (H.R.3957), which would establish a research and development program within the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Research and Development. The program would promote water-use efficiency and conservation through (1) technologies and processes that enable the collection, storage, treatment, and reuse of rainwater, stormwater, and greywater; (2) water storage and distribution systems; (3) behavioral, social, and economic barriers to achieving greater water use efficiency; and (4) use of watershed planning directed toward water quality, conservation, and supply.

The legislation passed through the House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Energy and Environment earlier this summer, led by Subcommittee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX). "Water utilities across the country withdraw roughly 40 billion gallons of water per day for domestic consumption, industrial processing, energy production, and fire protection. As population and energy use continues to grow, so will the demand for water," said Lampson. The bill's author, Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT) echoed the Chairman's point, remarking that "thirty six states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013. As the West continues to grow, we must face the problem of continually increasing the demands on a finite water supply."

The Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act was sent to the Senate and then referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.


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