Western States Water Newsletter

 Addressing Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future



Corps Withdraws the Water Supply Rule

On March 23, the Corps published its official withdrawal of the 2016 proposed rule on the Use of Corps Reservoir Projects for Domestic, Municipal, and Industrial Water Supply (85 FR 16307).  In January, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James directed the Corps to withdraw the Water Supply Rule, saying:  “In coordination with the administration and the intent to have a lighter federal touch, the Corps is withdrawing the proposed water supply rule.  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.”  Issues raised by states, tribes, and other stakeholders included “inconsistent pricing methodologies, reallocation approval levels, agreement approval levels, and difficulty getting real estate instruments….”  The Army plans to consider how to address water supply by “simplifying, clarifying and streamlining provisions and processes to achieve better consistency and address long-standing policy issues.”  The WSWC sent a letter welcoming the decision to withdraw, noting that:  “The Council has long raised serious concerns with the proposed rule.”  The letter emphasized the importance of deference to state law in the allocation and distribution of water.  The WSWC also expressed interest in further state-federal engagement to ensure the protection of state administration of water resources.