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Water Storage

Water Storage




Current Grade

Trending Steady

Trend - Steady


Funding needed to raise to a "B" Grade



  • Remaining need not covered by federal
  • Need covered by Biden
  • Need covered by GOP
  • Need covered by CSC
  • Need covered by PSC
Water Storage

Dams are built in all 50 states to store water. Dams are also built to control floods, generate hydroelectric power, irrigate, and provide recreation. The ASCE Report Card gives America’s dams a D, the same grade they received in 2017. ASCE estimates that $8.1 billion in new funding is needed each year for dams to get to a B.

President Biden and Republican Senators have now agreed that there is a need for new funding for water storage. President Biden called for $300 million in new federal funding per year, which is 4% of the ASCE estimated need and a 17% increase in federal funding. The Senate Republican plan and the Common Sense Coalition plan that President Biden now supports both include $1 billion in new funding, which is 12% of ASCE’s estimated need and a 56% increase in federal spending. The Problem Solvers Caucus proposes decreasing federal baseline spending by $100 million per year, a 3% reduction.

The Case for a Big Investment

Within the focus on water storage, the President, Senate Republicans, and the Common Sense Coalition have agreed that the need is particularly concentrated in the American West. The arid conditions typical of the west make water storage critical infrastructure for reliable access to water. They argue that a severe long-term drought, coupled with rapidly growing populations and an aging dam infrastructure, has made the issue of adequate, reliable water storage in the west even more crucial.

The Case for a Smaller Investment

As important as the need for reliable western water storage is, the Problem Solvers suggest that slightly less than current funding is sufficient to address the critical needs.

The Evidence

A 2020 update by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of its National Inventory of Dams cited in the ASCE report found that the number of dams with high potential for loss of life and property damage if they failed has doubled over the last 20 years. That is not because more dams have fallen into disrepair. Instead, it is because more homes and businesses are being built in areas that would be impacted by the failure of an existing dam.