The Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development
The annual Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development identifies feasibility studies, water resources projects, and environmental infrastructure assistance programs that Congress may consider for modifications to existing authorities or for new authorization. This Report is a requirement of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), Section 7001, and is sometimes known as the "7001 Report."
The Path to a Civil Works Water Resources Project
Civil Works project delivery is a multi-step, multi-year process. The first step is a feasibility study to examine specific water resources problems within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Civil Works mission areas, including flood risk management, navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration, and water supply.
Before a feasibility study begins, it requires congressional authorization, congressionally appropriated funds, and a non-Federal study sponsor to partner with USACE and share the total study cost. The feasibility study documents the formulation and evaluation of alternatives and provides the groundwork for the Report of the Chief of Engineers (Chief’s Report). The Chief’s Report documents the final recommendation by the Chief of Engineers for a water resources project to be considered for authorization by Congress. The signed Chief’s Report is provided to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (ASA(CW)). After Administration review, the ASA(CW) transmits the Chief’s Report to Congress.
By the completion of the detailed project design, and before construction begins, the water resources project must be congressionally authorized and funding appropriated. Once constructed, the water resources project transitions to ongoing operations and maintenance.
Modifications to authorized environmental infrastructure assistance programs may be included in the Report. While each authorized environmental infrastructure program is unique, the authorities generally cover planning, design, and construction of municipal drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects in specified communities, counties, and states.
The Annual Report to Congress and Congressional Authorization
The annual Report on Future Water Resources Development provides an opportunity for communities to inform Congress about their interest in congressional authorization – or modifying an existing authorization – for specific Civil Works water resources studies or projects. The Report provides congressional authorizing committees with a list of potential studies and projects to newly authorize, in addition to existing study, project, and programmatic authorities to modify. Congress generally authorizes new USACE activities in an omnibus authorization bill, typically called the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).
Developing the Report to Congress
The Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development is based, in part, on proposals submitted by non-Federal interests for: (1) proposed feasibility studies that need congressional authorization; (2) proposed modifications to authorized studies; (3) proposed modifications to authorized projects; and (4) proposed modifications to authorized environmental infrastructure assistance programs.
The Report to Congress also includes projects for potential authorization based on the Chief’s Reports that have been completed since the previous Report. Each Chief’s Report is based on a completed feasibility study and recommends a specific project for authorization to be cost-shared between USACE and a non-Federal sponsor.
USACE annually publishes a Federal Register Notice, notifying non-Federal interests that they may submit proposals, within 120 days of the Notice publication, for consideration in the next Report to Congress. The Report to Congress is transmitted to Congress by the ASA(CW) by 1 February of the following year.
The ASA(CW) certifies that each proposal in the main table of the Report to Congress is:
1) Related to USACE’s missions and authorities.
2) A study or project which requires specific congressional authorization.
3) A study or project which has not already been congressionally authorized.
4) A study or project which has not been included in the main table of a previous Report to Congress.
5) A study or project which, if authorized, could be carried out by USACE.
If a proposal does not meet one or more of the criteria, that proposal is included in the Report’s appendix, citing the specific unmet criteria to ensure transparency.
Many of the Nation’s major watersheds already have study authorities in place, so additional authorization may not be necessary. USACE also has multiple general authorities to undertake some studies, small projects, technical assistance, and emergency actions.
The purpose of the report is to identify proposals that require congressional authorization; it is not a recommendation for congressional authorization or funding appropriation. Inclusion in the Report to Congress alone does not provide authorization or funding appropriation for a study or project.
Developing a Proposal for the Report on Future Water Resources Development
Detailed proposal requirements are included in the annual Federal Register notice, but in general, each proposal is expected to include:
- The name of all non-Federal interests planning to act as the study or project sponsor;
- The specific purpose(s) of the proposed study or project;
- An estimate, to the extent practicable, of the total cost, and the Federal and non-Federal share of those costs, of the proposed study or project;
- An estimate, to the extent practicable, of the anticipated monetary and nonmonetary benefits of the proposal;
- Confirmation of the financial ability to provide the required cost share; and
- A letter or statement of support from each associated non-Federal interest.
For More Information
For communities interested in partnering with USACE for a water resources project, the first step is reaching out to your local USACE District office. For more information on the Report to Congress on Future Water Resources Development, please visit our website, https://www.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Project-Planning