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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment? David Dzombak, Chair Carnegie Mellon University.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment? David Dzombak, Chair Carnegie Mellon University."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Infrastructure: Deterioration, Investment, or Divestment? David Dzombak, Chair Carnegie Mellon University

2 Committee Roster Dave Dzombak, Chairman, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh Patrick Atkins, Pegasus LLC, New York Greg Baecher, University of Maryland, College Park Linda Blum, University of Virginia, Charlottesville Robert “Tony” Dalrymple, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore Mike Demissie, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign Terry Fulp, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Boulder City, Nevada Larry Larson, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Madison, Wisc. Diane McKnight, University of Colorado, Boulder J. Walter Milon, University of Central Florida, Orlando Dan Tarlock, Kent College of Law, Chicago Peter Wilcock, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore NRC Study Director: Jeffrey Jacobs, Water Science and Technology Board

3 Statement of Task “…identify alternatives and opportunities for improved decision making and prioritization in regard to maintenance, upgrades, and modernization of the navigation, flood management, hydropower, and related ecosystem infrastructure managed by the Corps.”

4 Report contents Federal Water Resources Development Act processes Corps mission areas and operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation (OMR) Options for improving OMR

5 Existing Corps infrastructure – inland navigation locks and dams, flood protection structures, hydropower generation facilities, and port and harbor facilities and activities. Does not address related resources affected by Corps infrastructure and its operations, such as fisheries, sediment, and wetlands. Report focus and scope

6 Federal Water Project Planning, Authorization, and Appropriations Federal water projects are authorized via occasional Water Resources Development Acts (WRDA) Maintenance and rehabilitation projects generally are not authorized via WRDA, although there are exceptions Congress and the OMB are the nation’s de facto water planners. However, no clearly defined distribution of responsibility among them (and the Corps) for setting national-level OMR priorities WRDA not designed to help set OMR priorities. Higher priority on OMR issues for Corps infrastructure will require some reorientation away from the present focus on WRDA

7 Corps Water Infrastructure and Mission Areas Navigation -- Inland and deep draft Flood Risk Management Hydropower Generation Report does not consider ecosystem assets and resources as Corps ‘hard’ infrastructure

8 Corps Civil Works Appropriations

9 Corps Water Infrastructure and Mission Areas NAVIGATION Inland navigation – federal infrastructure showing widespread signs of deterioration; heavily dependent on general revenue from U.S. Treasury; users pay an Inland Waterways Fuel Tax ($0.20/gallon); proposals for ‘lockage fees’ are strongly resisted Ports and harbors – little federally-owned infrastructure; Corps’ roles focused on maintaining navigable channel and docking depths; allows for more opportunities for partnerships with private sector.

10 Lock at Rock Island, IL

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12 Federal Inland Waterway Project Financing Trends

13 Flood Risk Management Infrastructure Financial OMR responsibilities are very different than in the Corps’ navigation mission area Corps-constructed levees that are locally maintained are eligible for fed. maintenance in emergency situations under Public Law P.L is not meant to cover routine levee maintenance Corps role in levee OMR across the nation generally is one of technical support

14 Flood Risk Management Infrastructure “In many parts of the nation, there are large numbers of property behind existing levees and other protective structures that have significant maintenance and rehabilitation needs... Flood risks in these settings will not be reduced easily or quickly by nonstructural measures. At the same time, given limited availability of federal funding, there is a pressing need for less costly and more efficient measures to reduce risks to public safety and reduce flood damages.”

15 Cedar Rapids, IA, June 2008

16 Flood Risks: Multiple Sources and Shared Responsibilities

17 Hydropower Generation Not a primary mission area for the Corps, but they have numerous facilities and are a national leader in hydropower generation. These facilities generate considerable revenue for the federal treasury, and ongoing contractual relationships may present opportunities to increase funds available for OMR needs.

18 Total hours of forced outages at Corps hydropower projects

19 Options for Corps of Engineers Water Infrastructure 1)Business as Usual This entails increased frequency of infrastructure failure and negative social, economic, and public safety consequences. The potential extent of these negative consequences is not well understood. 2) Increase Federal Funding for OMR There has been a long-term declining trend in funding for Corps infrastructure OMR. The future viability of this option is unclear. 3) Divest or Decommission This would reduce OMR obligations, but would require action by Congress or the administration.

20 Options for Corps of Engineers Water Infrastructure 4) Increase revenues from Corps project operations Opportunities exist to expand revenue capture from some projects, esp. inland navigation and hydropower. Legal barriers currently inhibit greater revenue capture from these sources. 5) Expand partnerships with states, communities, and private sector Many partnership arrangements offer opportunities for more efficient OMR activities. Greater private sector participation in Corps OMR activities will not be desirable in all circumstances. The Congress and/or administration should commission a study of the opportunities for more extensive partnerships for the OMR of Corps water infrastructure.

21 Federal Leadership and Action More specific direction from the Congress regarding OMR priorities will be essential to sustaining the Corps’ highest priority and most valuable infrastructure. The executive branch also could play a more aggressive role in promoting dialogue between the Corps and Congress on infrastructure OMR needs and priorities.

22 Summary Large Corps water resources infrastructure has accumulated over time Existing Corps water resources infrastructure cannot be adequately maintained with annual funding levels for OMR New approaches to management and funding of OMR – including more private, state, local involvement – is needed or system will be modified by deterioration, not by plan More specific direction from the Congress and Executive Branch regarding OMR priorities will be essential to defining and sustaining highest priority infrastructure


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