Under current law, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds projects to connect, expand, or repair public water systems on Indian reservations within the Upper Missouri River Basin and the Upper Rio Grande Basin. For each of fiscal years 2021 and 2022, $20 million is authorized to be appropriated for that purpose; however, no funds have been appropriated to date.
S. 421 would expand that program to include projects on off-reservation sites that serve Indian Tribes and 10 additional projects in the Columbia River Basin. The bill also would require EPA to fund 100 percent of project costs. Finally, the bill would authorize the appropriation of $50 million annually for fiscal years 2021 through 2024 for the program.
Using information from EPA, CBO estimates that funding qualifying projects would cost $148 million over the 2021-2026 period and $12 million after 2026. EPA also would incur administrative costs to establish and operate the program. Using information from EPA about the resources needed to operate similar programs, CBO estimates that implementing the bill would require about four employees and would cost an additional $3 million over the 2021-2026 period.