What the reauthorization of the WRRA means for the Ohio WRC and more

Posted: December 2, 2021

By: Allie Fehr

There is big news for the Ohio Water Resources Center (WRC) and water research institutes around the nation.

On Nov. 6, 2021, Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Package, which was later signed into law by President Biden on Nov. 15. An important component of the bill is the reauthorization of the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) Program through the fiscal year 2025.

Established in 1964, the WRRA promotes effective coordination of the United States’ water research by creating Water Resources Research Institutes (WWRI) at universities in each state and territory in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia. The WRRI, including the Ohio WRC, are organized as the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and provide vital support to stakeholders, states and federal agencies for long-term water planning, policy development and resource management.

The reauthorization of the WRRA also revises the program, such as increasing the federal share of grant funding under the program for water resources research and technology institutes. Grants will be matched on a basis of no less than one non-Federal dollar for every one Federal dollar. This 1:1 matching ratio is a considerable improvement over the current 2:1 ratio that requires research institutes to provide twice as much funding as the Federal government and could allow institutes like the Ohio WRC to fund additional researchers and projects.

Additionally, the measure includes evaluation studies every five years and the Authorization of Appropriations of $12 million of 104b and $3 million for 104g proposals for fiscal years 2022 through 2025.

This news is welcomed by the Ohio WRC and water research institutes across the United States who look forward to providing improved services to communities.