Infrastructure Bill Includes Significant Funding for Dam Safety Programs

On Monday, November 15, President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law.  This Act contains significant increases in funding for several dam safety programs: 

  • $585 million total for Section 8A grants to States (High Hazard Potential Dam Rehab grants), of which Not Less Than $75M shall be for dam removal 
  • $148 million total for Section 8(e) grants to States (state assistance grants) 
  • $67 million total under FEMA Operations and Support for dam safety activities and assistance to States under sections 7 through 12 of the National Dam Safety Program Act (all other NDSP areas) 
  • $118 million total for NRCS Small Watershed Rehab Program Grants 
  • Rehab WIFIA - $64 million total (includes CWIFP – the new USACE program for low-interest loans for dam repair) 
  • NOAA - $492 million for studies including modernized precipitation frequency and probable maximum studies (i.e., nationwide PMP estimates) 
  • Approximately $800 million for dam removal projects 
  • Approximately $800 million for dam safety, environmental and electric grid upgrades for hydropower dams. 

PDF with just the dam safety portions of the 1039-page bill
Summary of the hydro incentive and dam removal portions

This funding will undoubtedly improve the safety of many dams across the country and create stronger state and federal dam safety programs. We want to thank Senators Manchin, Portman, Feinstein, and Cantwell, and Representative Kuster for recognizing the importance of dams and dam safety and the need for federal leadership. 

ASDSO is proud to have supported this effort as a member of the Uncommon Dialogue coalition. The coalition, which collaborated to find balanced solutions for dam rehabilitation, removal, and retrofit for hydropower, worked directly with champions in Congress to secure this funding. ASDSO thanks the members of the coalition for their tireless work to move this effort forward. We also thank our many members who assisted with outreach, the ASDSO state representatives who advocated on behalf of their state, and our members who make these activities possible through donations and dues. 

The work is not finished though. ASDSO, ASCE and the other members of the coalition are continuing to work to get the entire 21st Century Dams Act passed. The passage of the Act would mean additional funding into federal dam safety programs. ASDSO will also be working with FEMA and the state dam safety regulatory programs to define ways to implement the additional funding. 

Want to read more? David Lieb of the Associated Press covered the increased funding in a recent article.

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