Corps of Engineers FY 2019 Appropriations Passed

The President signed the FY 2019 Minibus Appropriation Bill on 21 September. It combined appropriations for the Legislative Branch, Military Construction, Veteran Affairs, and Energy & Water Development that funds the Army Corps of Engineers. This ensures the Corps will be fully funded the start of the new fiscal year (FY19), that begins October 1.
This FY19 appropriations bill funds the Corps’ Civil Works program at $6.99 billion, up 46.08% from the Administration’s request of $4.79 billion.  This is the fourth consecutive year that Congress has increased funding for the Corps of Engineers by $1 billion or more each year. FY19 appropriations funding for Operations & Maintenance (O&M) is a record $3.74 billion, up 24.67% from the Administration’s request of $3.00 billion.

AWRA Executive Vice President Job Announcement

Hi,  Our friends at the American Water Resources Association asked if we would help them get the word out regarding their position search for a new Executive Vice President.  Ken Reid is retiring after many years at the helm of AWRA.  The position is open until filled and here is the link for more information:

https://careerhq.asaecenter.org/jobs/11460403/executive-vice-president-executive-director

 

 

Expanding Water Portal Data to Eastern States/Interstates

I participated on the Streamflow Information Collaborative webinar on July 10, 2018.  Sara Larsen with the Western States Water Council gave a very informative update on her work with sharing western states water data.  More details on WaDE and how the portals interact can be found at:  www.wade.westernstateswater.org

The Collaborative is now interested in expanding the data served beyond those of the western states and Sara would very much like input from water agencies east of the Mississippi to review the metrics used and see if those utilized in the western states still make sense as the data exchanges expand to encompass more states.  For those of you formatting and developing databases, Sara has set up a GitHub where you can look at the architecture currently utilized and make suggestions on format, how you would like to download data, use of Cloud services, etc.  The address of the GitHub is:

https://github.com/WSWCWaterDataExchange

While Sara certainly didn’t guarantee that all suggestions could be incorporated, she did say she would review all input carefully and really wants ideas to make the data exchanges work for all.

More information about the Streamflow Information Collaborative can be found here:

https://acwi.gov/hydrology/sic/

 

Potential Planning Assistance to States (PAS) Funding opportunity

Dear ICWP Members and Friends,

I had a discussion yesterday with Beverly Hayes who is the Planning Assistance to States (PAS) national Program Manager. During the call she mentioned that she has $2 million remaining for this current fiscal year (FY18) for the PAS program that needs to get obligated before the end of this federal fiscal year (September 30).

So, if you have a project that is far enough along that a Scope of Work is ready to be written and if its project purposes fall within the authorization of PAS, Beverly would be open to talking with you about getting the project funded.  The project can be either in the Comprehensive Planning or the Technical Assistance authorities of PAS.  If your Scope of Work meets the criteria, then a project agreement would need to be negotiated and as those sometimes take some time, the sooner contacting Beverly with your Scope of Work, the better.

Here is her contact info:

Beverly Hayes, PAS Program Manager

Beverley.A.Hayes@usace.army.mil  (and yes, there is an extra “e” in Beverley)

Phone:  251-690-2558

Her office is in Mobile, AL, and so is on Central time.

I can be reached via email (sue.icwp@gmail.com)or at 307-630-5804 if there are any questions I might be able to help with.

Sue

Western Governors Association weighs in on Water Supply Infrastructure

On June 5, the WGA sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources regarding the Water Supply Infrastructure and Drought Resilience Act (S. 2563). Citing relevant WGA Policy Resolutions, the letter expresses support for: (1) efficient permitting processes for the construction, operation, and maintenance of water infrastructure facilities, with a caveat about respecting state sovereign authority (§101 et seq.); (2) language authorizing states to determine whether their participation in “one-stop” permitting is appropriate (§102(c)); (3) extending eligibility in the Cooperative Watershed Management Program to groups sponsored by states and conservation districts (§113); (4) transparency from the Bureau of Reclamation (§121 et seq.), as well as all other federal agencies; (5) a pilot project reviewing flood control rule curves (§201 et seq.); (6) protection of state water rights (§301 et seq.); and (7) codification of EPA’s water transfers rule (§311)

May 2018 Topics update to members

Update:  May 2018

Dear ICWP members and friends,

2018 Annual Meeting—Save the Date

ICWP’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held in Oklahoma City on October 9-11, beginning with a tour on Tuesday (10/9) afternoon.  Panel discussions will be held on Wednesday until about 3 p.m. when we will break to go see results of Oklahoma City’s planning for their future water needs first hand.  The ICWP Annual Membership meeting will be Thursday (10/11) morning and after another topic panel that morning, we will conclude at noon.  Draft agendas and travel logistics will be posted to www.icwp.orgas plans gel, but for now please mark October 9-11 on your calendars for the Annual Meeting.

U.S. Geological Survey Streamgage Funding

In my previous update, I mentioned that we heard at the Washington Roundtable in March about serious cuts to the streamgaging programs at the USGS proposed in the President’s FY19 Budget request.  ICWP prepared a Streamgaging Fact Sheet that was distributed personally to Appropriations Sub-Committee offices during the week of April 16 as well as providing Outside Witness Testimony to the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee.  Both of these documents can be found on the www.icwp.orgwebsite (under Streamgage Support). Generally, we are requesting that the Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program of the USGS be restored to $72,500K, which is very near the level of funding in both FY17 and FY18.I am pleased to report that Congress has restored several of the Department of Interior budget’s during Committee mark-up.  Of course we are a long ways from a final FY19 budget passage, but at least that is a positive step.

USACE Planning Program (Planning Assistance to States)

We will have a panel at the Oklahoma City meetings to delve into detail on this important program.  Over the next few months, I will be contacting the Program Manager for PAS within USACE as well as some of the district water planning staff within the USACE to explore how ICWP can work more closely with the Corps of Engineers to assure that this program meets the needs of our members across the country, regardless of USACE Division or District.

ICWP Strategic Planning

The ICWP Board of Directors has scheduled a Summer Strategic Planning meeting in mid-August to update ICWP’s Strategic Plan and to discuss invigoration and workplan assignments to the Standing Committees of ICWP (which are:  Legislation & Policy; Water Data & Science; Water Planning; and Interstate Water Management).

Having just started the Executive Director position in mid-February, I am very interested in each of your views on how ICWP can better fulfill your water policy information needs.  We have heard from our members that the networking aspect of ICWP is one of the main membership benefits.  Participation on the committees enables more of you and your staff to become involved as most of the work of the committees is accomplished via email, conference calls and webinars.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your ideas for ICWP topics or to just chat about the overall direction of the organization. 

With best regards,

Sue

Position Announcement for Internet of Water

IoW Executive Director Job Description-June 2018

In the United States, water data have been collected by hundreds of federal, state, and local agencies for decades, yet we are still unable to answer fundamental questions about our water systems in a timely way: How much water is there? What is its quality? How is it used? Because the data have been collected by different agencies, for different purposes, at different scales, and are scattered across multiple platforms with different standards, they are rarely used beyond their original purpose. The Internet of Water (IoW) is a bold vision to improve water data infrastructure and fundamentally transform water management. Today, “Internet of Water”describes a federation of data producers, hubs, and users, currently in its unstructured infancy, which without direction is unlikely to evolve into a form or function that would actually affect water sustainability in a reasonable time frame.

The lack of structure, direction, and attention points to the need for a governance organization whose primary mission is to facilitate the sharing and integration of data between producers, users, and hubs – that is, to implement and advance the IoW. The Executive Director will play a lead role in managing IoW activities such as coordinating efforts between data hubs, articulating a clear vision for policies and procedures to share data, providing technical and non-technical resources for data producers and hubs, and demonstrating the value of integrating water data and capturing that value to ensure the IoW can become self-sustained.

The Executive Director provides vision, coherence, and leadership to the Internet of Water (IoW). The Executive Director is responsible for the initial launch of the IoW over a 3-year period. The IoW will initially be housed at the Nicholas Institute at Duke University with the goal of transitioning to a different, or standalone, organization in the third year. The Director will manage a full time staff of 2-3 persons, 50% of the Senior Water Policy Associate at the Nicholas Institute, and university students if applicable. The IoW project will be supported by the Nicholas Institute Grant Manager and the Development Team. This person will work with the Advisory Group to oversee the administration, strategic planning, and implementation of the IoW. Other duties include developing a business strategy, marketing, advocacy and outreach. The director will report to the Chair of the Advisory Group, who will be housed at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions (NI) at Duke University. The Executive Director will also be housed at the Nicholas Institute in Durham, NC with the expectation that he/she must be able to travel, particularly to Washington D.C. This position has an initial term-limit of three years with the potential for continuity based on the performance and sustainability of the project.

Please go to https://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/internet-of-water/  for more information.

Save the Date!

ICWP’s 2018 Annual Meeting will be held October 9-11 in Oklahoma City—Please get these dates in your calendar!!

Roundtable 2018 Joint Meeting Summary

Joint Interstate Council on Water Policy (ICWP) and Western States Water Council Roundtable Meetings Summary

Washington DC March 14-16, 2018 Crystal City Gateway Marriott

The following is an excerpt from the WSWC summary of the meetings.  Scroll down for Sue Lowry’s (ICWP’s Executive Director) additional views on the highlights of the presentations:

On March 14, in conjunction with the Interstate Council on Water Policy (ICWP), the WSWC hosted a Water Planners Conference, followed by a Roundtable on March 15, that brought together nearly 100 state and federal agency representatives (and private sector participants) with stewardship over water to address current challenges related to data and information management, groundwater management, water supply and emergency management, including floods and drought, landscape conservation on a watershed level, reservoir operations and infrastructure needs, as well as farm policy and agricultural water uses. 

        Federal agency participants came from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Interior, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Atmospheric and Space Administration (NASA).  Respectively, myriad agencies were represented, including the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and its National Water and Climate Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Climate Prediction Center, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Weather Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Energy, Installations and Environment), Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey.

         Among the notable officials were: Tim Petty, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science; Brenda Burman, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation; William Werkheiser, Acting Director, U.S. Geological Survey; Ryan Fisher, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works); Edward Belk, Chief of Civil Works Programs Integration, Army Corps of Engineers; Craig McLean, Assistant Administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; Mary Erickson, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Weather Services; Michael Freilich, Director of the Earth Science Division, NASA; and David Ross, EPA Assistant Administrator, Office of Water.

         A panel discussion on water-related legislation was also held on Capitol Hill in the House Rayburn Building with majority and minority representation from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, House Natural Resources Committee, and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  A reception followed for Congressional staff with state water managers.

 

Sue’s Reflection on the Presentation Highlights:

A couple of items have stuck in my mind in this next week after the Roundtable.  Chris Carlson from the US Forest Service observed that by 2020, two-thirds of the USFS budget will be spent on fighting wildfires.  Just a few years ago, 2/3 of the budget was dedicated to resource management.  This shift has meant the reduction of many professional scientists, such as hydrologists, within the Forest Service.  Without securing another method of fighting fires on our public lands, the ability of the Forest Service to focus on water management issues will likely diminish.  And this in a time when the predictions are for longer and more severe fire seasons.

During the Corps of Engineers (CoE) presentation, they reflected upon the ASCE Infrastructure grades given to:  Levees—D; Ports—C+; Dams—D; and Inland Water Ways—D.  We simply must find other mechanisms for funding the maintenance and rehabilitation of this important infrastructure.  Many presenters mentioned Public-Private Partnerships as the future to these huge funding deficits, but there appeared to be a dearth of concrete examples of successful PPP projects.

One of the many great aspects of these Roundtable meetings is the opportunity to hear from both representatives of the science/research side, as well as the political appointees who must make the difficult prioritization and funding decisions.  We heard from researchers within NOAA and NASA and many of the climate and weather forecasting and modeling efforts are reaching the stage of dependability where they can be integrated into water resource management decisions.  Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations is one of these exciting areas. We plan to present more on this topic at the ICWP Annual meeting this fall in Oklahoma City.

During the re-cap, Julie Cunningham and Jerry Rigby reflected on the good working relationship between WSWC and ICWP and by combining our Washington DC meeting we are able to attract top officials from a wide variety of federal and congressional entities.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email Sue at Sue.ICWP@gmail.com

 

New Executive Director

Good morning ICWP members!

This is my first post as the new Executive Director for ICWP and I am excited to be aboard!  I served on the Board of Directors for many years during my career in Interstate River Basin Compact Compliance at the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office.  It’s a great time to start this new position as ICWP’s annual Washington DC Roundtable is next week.  Our stand alone ICWP meeting (the rest of the meeting will be held jointly with the Western States Water Council) on Wednesday, March 14 will provide time to review my contract workplan and set the priorities and agenda for ICWP for the 2018 and beyond.  It’s not too late to register and I look forward to seeing everyone in Washington DC next week!