Leahy Advances Funding To Repair Waterbury Dam
WASHINGTON (FRIDAY, Sept. 13, 2019) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee has approved $20 million to repair certain high-risk dams, including the Waterbury Dam, in the Senate’s annual Energy and Water Appropriations bill. The bill was unanimously reported by the committee on Thursday and must be approved by the full Congress and signed into law by the President.
Leahy said: “The Waterbury Dam and the Waterbury Reservoir draw people from around Vermont and around the country to appreciate our Green Mountain State. Tropical Storm Irene once again proved how crucial the Waterbury Dam is to the safety and resilience of the surrounding towns. I am glad the Committee has supported my effort to once again provide the Army Corps of Engineers with the funds it needs to make much-needed repairs to this important piece of Vermont’s infrastructure.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) crafted language authorizing work to repair these high risk dams, including Waterbury, in the Water Resources Development Acts of 2016, and worked to further expand that funding authority with authorizing legislation adopted in 2018. Leahy, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, built on the Sanders authorizing work by securing the actual funding to accomplish the work through the appropriations process. The $20 million included the Fiscal Year 2020 Energy and Water Appropriations bill will support a total four eligible dams, including Waterbury Dam, that were built by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Starting in 1981, concerns over the safety of the Waterbury Dam have resulted in several repairs over the years. Constructed in 1938 to manage flooding in the Winooski River Basin, the 81-year-old dam far surpasses the average 56-year-old age of dams across the nation. The funds secured by Leahy will help to ensure the structural integrity and safety of the dam into the future. Design and construction of the repairs are expected to take place over several years.
The Dam’s resulting reservoir, the 850-acre Waterbury Reservoir, is home to two state parks and draws visitors from around the region.
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David Carle: 202-224-3693
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