On October 13, 2020, President Trump issued an Executive Order (E.O.) titled Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure. The Order, #13956, bolsters the importance of Federal water infrastructure policy and prioritizes access to essential water supplies for all Americans. Specifically, it seeks to:

  • Improve coordination among agencies on water resource management and water infrastructure issues
  • Reduce unnecessary duplication across the Federal Government by coordinating and consolidating existing water-related task forces, working groups, and other formal cross-agency initiatives
  • Efficiently and effectively manage America’s water resources and promote resilience of America’s water-related infrastructure
  • Promote integrated planning among agencies for Federal investments in water-related infrastructure
  • Support workforce development and efforts to recruit, train, and retain professionals to operate and maintain America’s essential drinking water, wastewater, flood control, hydropower, and delivery and storage facilities

The E.O. creates a Water Subcabinet that will be co-chaired by U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) Secretary David Bernhardt and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and will include senior officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Commerce (DOC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of the Army (Civil Works). The Water Subcabinet will work in close coordination with senior officials from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and other Federal agencies, as appropriate. A copy of the E.O. is available HERE. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross is quoted as saying, “The Federal government has a responsibility to ensure the most efficient use of our taxpayer dollars to manage and protect America’s precious water resources. Enhanced Federal coordination under the Water Subcabinet will help EPA accelerate progress on modernizing water infrastructure, encouraging innovative strategies like water reuse, and supporting the next generation of the water sector workforce.”