Kevin Shafer, executive director of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, says the new Water Resources Development Act, the first Corps of Engineers water projects measure to become law since late 2000, is “absolutely necessary.” Shafer says, “We're seeing throughout the country water needs, both drought-driven and population-driven. We need the infrastructure to support these needs.”
Shafer says that with WRDA’s enactment, “I see new requests going to Congress for appropriation. If Congress were to appropriate funding, that would be real funding for water projects.” He adds, “WRDA was a big leap forward. It's important for the country. It's important that wastewater utilities have the necessary funding to keep up with the demand.
Shafer says that MMSD  “will be trying to get funding for flood-management work. We will be working to get those projects appropriated.” The new measure authorizes feasibility study for flood protection and environmental restoration of the Menomenee River and Underwood Creek in Wauwatosa, and the greater Milwaukee watersheds.
But he thinks that the overall squeeze on federal appropriations will keep the volume of water-projects work at about its present level. There are only so many revenue dollars available,” Shafer says. The need is “huge” and has been documented by the Environmental Protection Agency, he says, but adds, “I think the need will outweigh the revenue. There will be a lot of healthy discussion on where to spend this money and how. A lot of discussion has yet to occur.”

Other Wisconsin projects in the new WRDA include: authorization for studies of navigation projects in Milwaukee and Kenosha harbors and a study of the Johnsonville Dam. It also has modified authorizations for navigation projects in Green Bay and Manitowoc harbors.