Jul 13, 2021 | Advocacy, Blog

Infrastructure Update & Advocacy Need

Coalition Urges Senate Committee to Approve Western Water Provisions

The steering committee of a coalition representing over 220 Western agricultural, urban and water organizations earlier today urged the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee to support the Western water elements found in the Energy Infrastructure Act.

“Dollars provided now will stoke the economic engine that powers the people and products that are driving America’s recovery by ensuring the short and long-term water future of the West,” the coalition letter stated.

Read the full letter here.

The steering committee – consisting of the Association of California Water Agencies, the California Farm Bureau, Family Farm Alliance, National Water Resources Association and Western Growers Association – believe that federal investment to support aging water infrastructure fixes, building new water supply and conveyance facilities, and implementing a suite of conservation, water recycling, and desalination actions must be included in the forthcoming infrastructure or economic recovery package.

“With the language that the Committee is hearing and voting on this week, it appears you have heard our collective request,” the coalition letter stated.

The legislative package that the Committee has assembled represents roughly $8 billion, and will be marked up at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

Our Message on Drought Resonates Across the West

Meanwhile, the message espoused by the coalition and the Family Farm Alliance is making headway in media outlets across the West.

BLOOMBERG: “Drought-Stricken Western Districts Plan New Ways to Store Water”
Current surface and groundwater storage infrastructure is not adequate for future weather conditions. Family Farm Alliance is one of 220 agriculture and water management organizations lobbying Congress to fix this crisis and invest $49 billion over the next 10 years on repairs and new infrastructure.

“Our Western water infrastructure is crumbling and insufficient to meet growing water demands and more extreme climate events. The current drought clearly underscores the urgency to expand usable supplies to avoid water curtailments and conflict over water supplies in the future,” said executive director Daniel Keppen.

Read the full article here.

Bloomberg Op-Ed: “New Water Wars Are Coming to the American West”

The Bloomberg editorial board supports our coalition’s efforts to include Western water infrastructure in any Congressional infrastructure package. We are pleased the article highlights points we have made publicly, including in recent testimony before Congress.

They highlight the need by sharing the current Klamath River Basin clash between farmers, federal officials, and other stakeholders, such as indigenous tribes. According to the author, “The Klamath rebellion is the worst case for now — most Western water resources are peacefully managed during drought years, and many become more efficient and innovative. But it represents the kind of resource wars that could ripple throughout the West in the coming decades — perhaps even the coming months.”

The article wraps up with a warning that echoes the Alliance’s concerns:

“Water is the lifeblood of any economy — without it, there can be no agriculture (which accounts for more than 70% of global freshwater demand), no food sovereignty, no renewable hydropower and no economic growth. If we don’t plan ahead, many American states in and beyond the West will be embroiled in resource wars.”

Read the full article here.

Arizona Capital Times: “Wanted — water infrastructure funding”And lastly, to put things into perspective, leaders of the Arizona Agribusiness and Water Council, National Water Resources Association, and the Family Farm Alliance. Alliance co-authored this recent op-ed piece for the Arizona Capitol Times: “Wanted – Water Infrastructure Funding”.

“These are the worst levels in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s 21-year history,” the authors write. “Perhaps the only silver lining in this disaster is that it will hopefully draw public and political attention of the need to take immediate action to help better manage impacts to water resources from drought in the West.”

Read the full article here.

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
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