Congressional Research Service Reports - Browse


Terrorism and Security Issues Facing the Water Infrastructure Sector

Description: The possibility of damage to or destruction of the nation's water supply and water quality infrastructure by terrorist attack has gained substantial attention since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Policymakers are considering a number of initiatives, including enhanced physical security, better communication and coordination, and research. A key issue is how such security measures will be funded. Committees in the 109th Congress have approved legislation to support vulnerability assessments in federal and non-federal wastewater treatment plants and utility systems.
Date: May 24, 2006
Creator: Copeland, Claudia & Cody, Betsy A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Wetland Mitigation Banking: Status and Prospects

Description: Wetland protection is controversial because the federal government regulates activities on private lands and because the natural values at some of these regulated sites are being debated. This controversy pits property owners and development interests against environmentalists and others who seek to protect the remaining wetlands. Mitigation banking, which allows a person to degrade a wetland at one site if a wetland at another site is improved, has been identified as a potential answer to this shrill and seemingly intractable debate.
Date: September 12, 1997
Creator: Zinn, Jeffrey A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ecosystems, Biomes, and Watersheds: Definitions and Use

Description: This paper describes the meaning and applications of ecosystem and of the related terms watershed and biome. It discusses the pros and cons of all three as organizing principles for land management, and the major issues that are likely to arise in the debate over ecosystem management.
Date: July 14, 1993
Creator: Corn, M. Lynne
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Aging Infrastructure: Dam Safety

Description: To help inform discussions on the federal role in dam safety, this report provides background information on the nation’s dam safety activities and funding mechanisms.
Date: September 29, 2005
Creator: Powers, Kyna
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Ballast Water Management to Combat Invasive Species

Description: The arrival of zebra mussels in the Great Lakes and their subsequent damage to city water supplies and electric utilities has focused significant attention on ballast water discharge by cargo ships as a high-risk mechanism for species invasion. New management efforts attempt to address this concern. Congress is considering legislative proposals to amend and reauthorize the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act, including specific provisions that would modify how ballast water is managed. This report provides background on various approaches to ballast water management and reviews current ballast water management laws and programs.
Date: October 1, 2007
Creator: Buck, Eugene H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Flood Risk Management: Federal Role in Infrastructure

Description: This report discusses federal investment decisions on flood control infrastructure, such as levees, floodwalls, and dams. The report also analyzes flood risk as a composite of flood threat, consequence, and vulnerability. The report illustrates that federal policy focuses attention on only some aspects of flood risk and summarizes the options being discussed for addressing other aspects of flood risk in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Date: October 26, 2005
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy and Water Development: FY2011 Appropriations

Description: This report discusses key budgetary issues for FY2011 involving the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, which provides funding for civil works projects of the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, the Department of Energy, and a number of independent agencies.
Date: February 25, 2011
Creator: Behrens, Carl E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Energy's Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities, and Management

Description: The nation's energy choices embody many tradeoffs. Water use is one of those tradeoffs. The energy choices before Congress represent vastly different demands on domestic freshwater. The energy sector's water consumption is projected to rise 50% from 2005 to 2030. This rising water demand derives from both an increase in the amount of energy demanded and shifts to more water-intense energy sources and technologies. This report discusses this issue as well as related issues that may arise for the 112th Congress.
Date: November 24, 2010
Creator: Carter, Nicole T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Benefit-Cost Analysis and the Discount Rate for the Corps of Engineers' Water Resource Projects: Theory and Practice

Description: Construction of large water resource projects, such as those of the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), can be controversial because they involve trade-offs among various river uses, and between current and future generations. Pursuant to federal water project planning guidelines, the Corps weighs these trade-offs using benefit-cost analysis. If its analysis shows that a project’s national economic development (NED) benefits exceed its NED costs, the Corps seeks project authorization from Congress. Congress authorizes the Corps to construct some of these large water projects through (usually) biennial Water Resource Development Acts. Since the Corps rarely recommends a project that does not have a benefit-cost ratio greater than 1.0, this report describes the decisions that influence this ratio, with a focus on the role of the discount rate.
Date: June 23, 2003
Creator: Powers, Kyna
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Inland Waterways: Recent Proposals and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the major issues for Congress which include whether to increase inland waterway funding in the future (and by what amount); the appropriate type of revenue stream (e.g., fuel taxes or lockage fees) for the user-required portion of these projects; division of the cost-share responsibilities between the federal government and commercial users (e.g., 50/50 or some other division); and whether to initiate process-based recommendations that some argue will improve the delivery and efficiency of Corps-led IWTF projects.
Date: May 3, 2013
Creator: Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Water Infrastructure Financing: The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) Program

Description: Policy makers have recently been considering several legislative options to help finance water infrastructure projects, including projects to build and upgrade wastewater and drinking water treatment systems. This report examines one particular option, a "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act," or WIFIA, program, which Congress included in the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA). As enacted (P.L. 113-121), the legislation creates a WIFIA pilot program based on provisions in Senate-passed S. 601 with some additions and modifications.
Date: October 23, 2014
Creator: Copeland, Claudia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Analysis of H.R. 5781, California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014

Description: This report provides a description and analysis of H.R. 5781, the California Emergency Drought Relief Act of 2014, which passed the House December 9, 2014. It includes a summary of key provisions of the bill, and compares it with two other bills from the 113th Congress aiming to address different aspects of drought and water management in California.
Date: December 11, 2014
Creator: Cody, Betsy A.; Sheikh, Pervaze A. & Stern, Charles V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department