WASHINGTON -- The Hon. R.D. James, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, today directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to withdraw the "Use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoir Projects for Domestic, Municipal & Industrial Water Supply," also known as the Water Supply Rule.
"In coordination with the administration and the intent to have a lighter federal touch, the Corps is withdrawing the proposed water supply rule," James said. "We have heard feedback from our partners, and the withdrawal of the rule will enable us to determine the best approach to address this complicated issue."
In 2016, the Department of the Army issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the Water Supply Rule that sought to clarify the Corps' policies governing the use of its reservoir projects for domestic, municipal and industrial water supply by defining key terms under the Flood Control Act of 1944 and the Water Supply Act of 1958 in order to account for court decisions, legislative provisions and other developments related to the exercise of these authorities.
However, due to several issues raised by states, tribes and other stakeholders concerning inconsistent pricing methodologies, reallocation approval levels, agreement approval levels, and difficulty getting real estate instruments, Mr. James instructed the Corps in September 2019 that the Army would refrain from issuing a final rule for a minimum of six months in order to allow for additional coordination with states, tribes and other stakeholders.
Upon withdrawal of the Water Supply Rule, the Army will consider how best to address water supply issues in order to address stakeholder concerns by simplifying, clarifying and streamlining provisions and processes to achieve better consistency and address long-standing policy issues.
"We have been working with our partners to find solutions to these difficult issues for a long time," James said. "We intend to use their input to reevaluate how best to clarify issues related to water supply."
The Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works establishes policy direction and provides supervision of the Army functions relating to all aspects of the civil works program administrated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.