Issue Brief: The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)


ASLA supports legislation to increase funding and strengthen water resources infrastructure and development programs. Landscape architects use nature-based solutions in Army Corps of Engineers projects to provide critical services for communities, which protect them against flooding, excessive heat, and improve air and water quality. 

Background & Analysis

The Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) addresses the needs of America’s water infrastructure such as harbors, locks, bridges, and dams, which are essential resources to the country’s economic competitiveness. WRDA authorizes critical Army Corps of Engineers projects across the country. These projects, which undergo congressional scrutiny, strengthen our nation’s infrastructure to protect lives and property, and restore vital ecosystems to preserve our natural heritage. 

WRDA also provides key investments to the country’s aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure system, assists disadvantaged communities in achieving public health standards under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act, and promotes innovative technologies to address drought and other critical water resource needs. 


In late 2016, Congress approved S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, a measure that includes reauthorization of Water Resources Development Act of 2016. The WIIN Act provides resources, which improve drinking water infrastructure around the country, water storage and delivery to help drought-stricken communities, and address federal dam maintenance backlogs. ASLA championed a provision in the WIIN Act to require the Army Corps of Engineers to report to Congress on the feasibility of using green infrastructure projects, also known as nature-based solutions, in coastal projects. The ASLA provision is an important step toward advancing nature-based infrastructure projects with the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Current Status

The WIIN Act authorizes numerous projects that preserve our nation’s natural heritage and precious ecosystems including projects critical to the ongoing restoration of the Florida Everglades and revitalization of the Los Angeles River. The bill also promotes restoration of nationally significant water bodies and marine ecosystems, including the Great Lakes, Columbia River, Puget Sound, Salton Sea, Chesapeake Bay, North Atlantic Coast, Rio Grande, Lake Tahoe, and Long Island Sound. The Act promotes innovative technologies that address water resource challenges. The bill provides necessary support for technologies—such as desalination and water reuse and recycling— that help to address drought and other serious water resource challenges. The WIIN Act also allocates direct emergency aid to address the drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan, and assists other communities facing similar drinking water threats.


Cong. Reid Ribble Recognizes ASLA during floor consideration of WRDA 
ASLA Wins Support for Green Infrastructure in Army Corps of Engineers Projects 
S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WINN) Act 
The Water Resources Development Act of 2016

Related ASLA Policies

Coastal Zones
Water Quality and Conservation


ASLA Government Affairs