Biden signs provisions to find backup drinking water supply for D.C. residents

President Biden signed a bill this week calling for finding alternative sources of drinking water for residents of the District of Columbia, who depend solely on the Potomac River.

Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, representing the constituency, has pushed to address the Potomac River problem when drinking water becomes unavailable due to man-made or natural causes, including climate change.

“I am pleased that the President has signed into three articles of WRDA that address issues DC has faced for many years,” Norton said. “These provisions will help protect drinking water and other infrastructure in the nation’s capital from severe vulnerabilities and will benefit DC residents for years to come.”

The 2022 Water Resources Development Act contained three provisions. This included an effort to allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct research on secondary drinking water sources and additional drinking water storage capacity in the district.

The Potomac River is now the only source of drinking water for the Washington suburb of Arlington County and Falls Church, Virginia.

The Washington Aqueduct, which produces drinking water from the Potomac River, also contains only one day’s reserve water supply.

Other cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, typically have a secondary source of drinking water, and some cities are planning a third source.

According to WTOP, Washington State’s local water authority is considering additional water storage at the Tlavira quarry in Rockville.

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