Obama Administration Releases Final Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Water Investments in Water Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                        press@ceq.eop.gov
December 17, 2014                              

Obama Administration Releases Final Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Investments in Water Resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama Administration today released final Principles, Requirements and Guidelines (PR&G) for Federal investments in water resources, marking the first update to these important guidelines in more than three decades. In addition to helping cut costs and accelerate project approvals, the modernized PR&G guides Federal agencies to support water infrastructure projects with the greatest economic and community benefits. 

By involving local communities and soliciting their input, the modernized PR&G will make it easier for the Federal Government to support water infrastructure projects that communities want while helping avoid conflict and project delays by encouraging early, front-end engagement to address problems before they develop. Federal agencies incorporated extensive public comment to develop the updated guidelines, which were called for in the 2007 Water Resources Development Act. The updates allow agencies to better consider the full range of long-term economic benefits associated with water investments. This includes protecting communities against future storm damage and promoting recreational opportunities that support local business, as well as their water delivery, navigation, and flood prevention functions.

“By making smart investments in water infrastructure, the Federal Government can save taxpayer money and promote economic growth while protecting communities against extreme weather and other disasters,” said Mike Boots, who leads the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “With this update of the 30-year-old Principles, Requirements and Guidelines, we are ensuring that communities have a voice in selecting the water projects that will help them thrive.”

Since 1983, the Principles and Guidelines have provided direction to Federal agencies when evaluating and selecting major water projects, including projects related to navigation, storm resilience, water supply, wetland restoration, and flood prevention.  The 1983 standards used a narrow set of parameters to evaluate water investments, making it difficult for agencies to support a range of important projects that communities want, or in some cases precluding support for good projects.  Lack of local support for selected projects can lead to substantial project delays, costing taxpayers and leaving communities at risk. 

The PR&G consist of Principles and Requirements, finalized in 2013, which lay out broad principles to guide water investments, and Interagency Guidelines, finalized today, which provide direction to agencies on implementing the Principles and Requirements.  Released for public review and comment in 2009, the Principles and Requirements incorporate extensive input from the public as well as the National Academy of Sciences. They will promote responsible taxpayer investments with transparent, inclusive consideration of the long-term economic and community costs and benefits of projects and ensure that communities are engaged in designing projects that work for them.  The Guidelines, which were released in draft form for public comment in 2013, will ensure smart, front-end, collaborative planning among Federal agencies, states, local communities, stakeholders, and the public so that projects move faster, stay on budget, and support community needs. 

The updated PR&G will foster consistency and informed decision-making across Federal agencies engaged in water resources planning, including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Tennessee Valley Authority, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Office of Management and Budget. 

To view the updated Principles, Requirements and Guidelines, click here.