Most Recent Action   Background 

Water Research and Development Update (7-20-00)

The Water Resources Research Act of 1984 set up state water research institutions at one qualified college or university in all U.S. states and territories.   The act aimed to provide the institutes with financial and technical support from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).  Thus, the Department of the Interior would help states to address their unique long-term water and resource management efforts.  The university-based institutes also cooperate with other academic, state, and private organizations.  H.R. 4132, a recent bill to reauthorize and increase funding for water resources research grants, passed the House Committee on Resources on July 10, 2000.

Most Recent Action
H.R. 4132 was introduced in the House on March 30, 2000 by Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA).  The purpose of the bill was to reauthorize and amend the Water Resources Research Act of 1984.  That act established a system of state water research institutes supported by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which work with state organizations and universities to do basic and applied research, training, and technology and information transfers in order to develop programs designed to resolve regional water and related land problems.  H.R. 4132 would reauthorize the program and triple the grant amounts for general water resources research and for research focused on interstate water problems through Fiscal Year 2005.  The bill passed the House Committee on Resources and the full House on July 10, 2000 and was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. (7/20/00)

The Water Resources Research Act of 1984 was enacted to establish state university-based research and technology institutes.  The Secretary of the Interior was responsible for setting up the institutes to plan, conduct or arrange for water resources research, and to cooperate with other academic institutions in the state to formulate and implement state-wide water and land resource management plans.  The act authorized federal funding through the USGS to be matched by non-federal monies.  Every year, each institute is required to submit its proposals to the Secretary of the Interior for evaluation.  It repealed the Water Research and Development Act of 1978.  H.R. 1743 amended the act in 1995 to broaden the institutes' involvement with other natural resources and agricultural systems.  It also directed that other federal agencies coordinate with the water resource research institutes, began an internship program for undergraduate and graduate students, and shifted the financial burden away from the government by requiring that each federal grant dollar be matched by two non-federal dollars.  In fiscal year 1999, the institutes leveraged $71 million, of which $4 million was from federal sources. The institutes collaborate with 123 other universities, 148 state agencies, and over 273 other entities.  The USGS funding supported the training of over 1000 students.

Sources: THOMAS, National Institutes for Water Resources

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at

Contributed by 2000 AGI/AIPG Geoscience Policy Intern Audrey Slesinger

Posted July 20, 2000

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