"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 creation of the Commission changed the Delaware Valley from an area of conflict to a model of federal-state cooperation, as 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.

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% 
  • United States: 20%

Background Paper on Equitable Apportionment of DRBC's Current Expense Budget (pdf)

However, the federal government has only provided funding to support its 20% "fair share" of the DRBC's annual current expense budget during one federal fiscal year since 1996 (federal FY 2009).

View Signatory Party Funding History (pdf)

It is important to note that 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 the above-linked spreadsheet.

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.

That said, the cumulative federal shortfall from October 1996 through the end of DRBC FY 2022 (June 30, 2022) totals $17,144,250.

DRBC Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023)

The DRBC's FY23 Budget was the subject of a public hearing held on May 11, 2022.

At the 2Q DRBC Business Meeting held June 8, 2022, the Commissioners unanimously approved DRBC's current expense budget of $7,311,600 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2023.

It calls for the following signatory member contributions totaling $3,307,500: New Jersey $893,000, Delaware $447,000, Pennsylvania $893,000, New York $359,500, and the United States $715,000. The Commission at its June 8, 2022, business meeting also unanimously approved the DRBC capital budget (Water Supply Storage Facilities Fund) reflecting revenues of $3,598,000 and expenditures of $4,540,800.

DRBC Audit Information

Annual Independent Financial Audits

Pa. Auditor General Releases Performance Audit of DRBC (Nov. 2018)