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Wild ride awaits for water issues under Trump

Donald Trump made some big campaign promises about water during his election campaign. Now that he has been elected president, those promises could dramatically shake up how water is managed in the arid West.

In one of his few direct statements about water, Trump has said he wants to invest in treatment systems to prevent problems caused by aging distribution lines, citing as an example the drinking-water contamination in the Michigan city of Flint. To do this, he proposes to triple funding for a federal loan program, called the state revolving fund, from the current $2 billion to $6 billion.

This could be a boon to local water and wastewater utilities struggling to pay for decaying infrastructure.

Paradoxically, Trump has also vowed to slash Clean Water Act regulations. In particular, he is targeting rules adopted by the Obama administration to protect wetlands and marshes, the nation’s natural water filters.

Like Trump’s vow to build a wall on the Mexican border, these proposed changes would encounter a host of inconvenient realities associated with government. Working that out is certain to be disruptive, whatever the outcome.