H.R. 631: Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act

H.R. 631

Water Use Efficiency and Conservation Research Act

Rep. Jim Matheson

February 10, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

H.R. 631 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT) on January 22, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 631 directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish a research and development program that promotes water efficiency and conservation. This program will include research into technologies, as well as storage and distribution systems aimed at promoting more efficient water use. The bill allows the Assistant Administrator of the EPA to facilitate the adoption of beneficial technologies and publication of information related to water conservation technologies.

Additionally, H.R. 631 directs the Assistant Administrator to fund at least four projects in publicly accessible buildings which will incorporate the latest water conservation technologies and designs.

The EPA Administrator is directed to work with the National Academy of Sciences to complete a study to determine strategies for the management of water supplies, wastewater, and stormwater. The study will include a comparison of water conservation research efforts in the U.S. compared to those of other countries and other assessments. H.R. 631 authorizes $1 million to the EPA Administrator to carry out this study.

The bill authorizes $20 million dollars for each of fiscal years 2010-2014.



On July 30, 2008, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 3957) by voice vote.  That bill was never considered by the Senate.

There is currently no coordinated research effort conducted by the EPA for the development of water-use efficiency and conservation technologies.  However, the EPA does sponsor a partnership program called WaterSense that promotes efficient water usage as well as the water-efficient products, programs, and practices.  WaterSense partners with private industry to promote efficient technologies and best management practices such as efficient landscape irrigation design.

According to the EPA, only one percent of the water on the planet is available for human use.    While the population and the demand on freshwater resources increase, supply remains constant.  Managing water is a growing concern in the United States.  Communities across the country are starting to face challenges regarding water supply and water infrastructure.  At least 36 states are anticipating local, regional, or statewide water shortages by 2013.


There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score available for this bill, but CBO estimated that last year's bill would cost $86 million over a five year period, and $15 million thereafter.