"The respective signatory parties covenant and agree to include the amounts so apportioned for the support of the current expense budget in their respective budgets next to be adopted, subject to such review and approval as may be required by their respective budgetary processes."

-- Delaware River Basin Compact (Public Law 87-328, Section 13.3c)

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four states with land drained by the Delaware River -- Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The DRBC's creation was the first time in our nation's history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners on a regional body with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries.

The Commission serves federal, state and local interests by providing comprehensive, proactive water resources management for the 13,539-square-mile Delaware River Basin. DRBC programs include water quality protection, water supply allocation, flood loss reduction, drought management, water conservation, permitting, watershed planning and recreation.

Notably, the creation of the Commission changed the Delaware Valley from an area of conflict to a model of federal-state cooperation. Today, this contrasts sharply with other parts of the country where cross-border water conflicts continue to cost the federal government millions of dollars, while they tie up the federal courts in ongoing litigation and run up huge costs to the parties and states involved.

The 100-year Compact creating the DRBC stipulates that the five signatory parties agree to support the commission's annual current expense budget. In 1988, the Commission members reached a tacit agreement to apportion signatory party contributions as follows: Delaware 12.5%, New York 17.5%, New Jersey 25%, Pennsylvania 25%, and the United States 20%.

The federal government has provided funding to support its 20% "fair share" of the DRBC's annual current expense budget during only one federal fiscal year since 1996 (please note: the federal fiscal year, which extends from October 1 through September 30, differs from the DRBC fiscal year, so the U.S. contribution to DRBC received in federal FY 2009 totaling $715,000 appears as $536,250 in DRBC FY 2009 and $178,750 in DRBC FY 2010).

In 2014, President Obama signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA), P.L. 113-121, which received the overwhelming support of Congress. Section 4001 of WRRDA (pdf) directs the Secretary of the Army to allocate funds to the DRBC to fulfill the equitable funding requirements of its interstate compact. WRRDA further stipulates that if this directive is not followed, the Secretary must inform the appropriate House and Senate committees why funds were not allocated and also explain the impact of that decision with respect to nine listed areas of jurisdiction (such as water supply allocation, water quality protection and flood loss reduction). While WRRDA is an authorizing bill and not an appropriations bill, its clear and direct language was an encouraging development to the ongoing efforts to restore federal signatory member funding support of the commission’s operating budget as required by the compact.

The cumulative federal shortfall from October 1996 through the end of DRBC FY 2020 (June 30, 2020) totals $15,714,250.

DRBC Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021)

Typically, the Commission holds a public hearing on its proposed fiscal year budget in May, with a vote on the proposal at its regularly-scheduled quarterly meeting in June. In 2020, due to mitigation measures in effect through much of the Basin to address the COVID-19 pandemic, state budget processes for FY 2021 have been disrupted, leading to extensions of current fiscal year budgets or possible revisions to previously announced budgets. The Commission acknowledges that our Commissioners may not be prepared to adopt the DRBC’s FY 2021 budgets before completing their revised state budgets. As such, at its quarterly Commission meeting held June 10, 2020, the DRBC Commissioners passed a Resolution for the Minutes to authorize spending for the period from July 1, 2020 through the date of adoption of interim or final annual Current Expense and Capital Budgets for Fiscal Year 2021.

View Resolution for the Minutes approved June 10, 2020 (pdf 88 KB)

The DRBC's FY21 Budget was the subject of a public hearing held on August 12, 2020.

At the 3Q DRBC Business Meeting held September 10, 2020, the Commissioners unanimously approved DRBC's current expense budget of $5,904,600 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. It calls for the following signatory member contributions totaling $2,431,500: New Jersey $693,000, Delaware $447,000, Pennsylvania $217,000, New York $359,500, and the United States $715,000. The commission at its September 10, 2020 business meeting also unanimously approved the DRBC capital budget (Water Supply Storage Facilities Fund) reflecting revenues of $3,038,300 and expenditures of $3,686,800.