A group of 150 agricultural and water organizations is calling on federal officials to provide water relief for the Western United States. Two separate letters sent to President Donald Trump and members of Congress highlight the importance of providing support for enhancing water management, particularly in light of the tumultuous conditions created by COVID-19.
“An important step in combating the long-term impacts of the pandemic is going to be a renewed effort to meet the systemic infrastructure demands of the nation,” the groups noted in their letter to President Trump. “In particular, we urge you to advance critically needed investments that address the shortcomings of our aging Western water infrastructure.”
Some of the organizations involved with developing the letters include the California Farm Bureau Federation, Kings River Conservation District, California Cattlemen’s Association, Central Valley Project Water Association, California Fresh Fruit Association, and Western Growers Association. In the letter addressed to members of Congress, the groups emphasize that “as you consider further measures to help our country recover economically – including boosting federal funding for infrastructure -we urge that you consider critically needed investments that address the shortcomings of our aging Western water infrastructure.”
A majority of the water infrastructure projects that have been federally funded are more than 50 years old and an updated approach to water security is now warranted. The system of water management has been outgrown by changing hydrological conditions in the West and population centers continuing to expand. On top of infrastructure improvements, the coalition is asking for a multifaceted approach to address water security.
Each of the letters notes that “our organizations collectively believe that water conservation, water recycling, watershed management, conveyance, desalination, water transfers, groundwater storage, and surface storage are all needed for a diversified water management portfolio and such efforts MUST be included in the next stimulus package.”