Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, on Tuesday joined Rep. Grace Napolitano and 14 of her California colleagues to introduce the Water in the 21st Century Act, a bill that would help communities deal with drought conditions.

The Water in the 21st Century Act would provide communities with incentives and investments for water use efficiency projects, conservation initiatives and water recycling. The bill builds on additional congressional efforts to help drought stricken areas by providing more long-term solutions and making them accessible to all communities.

“While the rain this weekend was welcome news in California, this drought remains the worst on record and the most urgent problem our state faces,” Capps said. “There are no easy solutions. But the Water in the 21st Century Act would be a strong step forward by providing critical support for improved water efficiency, conservation and water recycling projects in our local communities.”

“2014 was California’s driest year on record, illustrating more than ever how preparing for future drought cycles is critical for our entire nation,” Napolitano said. “This comprehensive legislation addresses this urgent need through cost-effective solutions — increased water use efficiency, water conservation, desalination, and water recycling — which Southern California has successfully been doing for decades. Of the many critical challenges we face in the 114th Congress, developing a reliable water supply for the 21st century must be among our top priorities. I am proud to sponsor this bill in the House and will continue to work with all of my colleagues to increase our abilities to prepare for drought cycles.”

Specifically, the bill would authorize and improve the WaterSense Program and create both a secured loan program and a grant program for water recycling, groundwater management, Integrated Regional Water Management, and water infrastructure projects. The bill also would authorize the Water Research Act and the Desalination Act, improve water supply operations at Army Corps Dams, and improve drought resilience and coordination at Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Department of Interior. Capps cosponsored the same bill in the 113th Congress.

— Chris Meagher is a press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps.