America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 signed into law


January 13th, 2021 by Ric Hanson

Iowa (R) Senator Joni Ernst’s office reports a key measure Senator Ernst has been pushing for to improve operations along the Missouri River and mitigate flood risk in Southwest Iowa, was just signed into law as part of Congress’ major bipartisan relief package at the end of the year. The Senator helped advance a major water infrastructure bill in the Senate last May, called the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2020. The bill was included in the most recent relief package that passed the Senate at the end of December and is now law.

The measure directs the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a comprehensive study of the Upper Missouri River Basin, and to expand the scope of an existing Lower Missouri Basin study, including completing additional studies on flood risk reduction solutions in the Lower Basin. This will help to make sure the Corps is better focusing its resources in Southwest Iowa to protect against flooding.

It will also allow towns that created temporary flood control structures to make them permanent – like the town of Hamburg did during the 2019 floods. It gives the Army Corps the authority to review whether temporary flood control structures it has constructed should be made permanent, and allows the local cost-share for making them permanent to be waived for communities that are small, financially disadvantaged, or at risk of recurring flooding.

Following passage of the bill, Ernst said  As someone who grew up on a small farm in Southwest Iowa, I know firsthand the challenges of protecting our communities along the Missouri River from flooding and the importance of supporting commerce on our waterways. This measure, which is now law, will go a long way in helping strengthen our water infrastructure, especially our flood control systems, including for our small and rural communities. As Iowans continue to recover from the 2018 and 2019 flooding, this new law will make sure the Army Corps is spending your tax dollars wisely and taking the right steps to protect our state from future floods.”