Nov 15, 2021Agencies: Infrastructure bill delivers victory for Western water users
With President Joe Biden’s signature on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Nov. 15, a national coalition representing thousands of Western farmers, ranchers, businesses and rural and urban water providers declared a victory for Western water users and called on the administration to immediately clear the path for projects that will address critical Western water supply needs.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes more than $8 billion for projects that will enhance water supply reliability across the West, including repairing aging dams and canals, building new surface and groundwater storage and conveyance facilities, funding water conservation and recycling projects, and improving watershed and ecosystem management.
“This is a great victory for Western water users. The Western water provisions included in this legislation represent a once-in-a-generation federal investment that will bolster our aging water infrastructure and keep water flowing to our nation’s farms and ranches. It will also improve our ability to provide water supply reliability for cities and the environment in future droughts,” Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen said in a news release.
“Water is the cornerstone of our economic and ecological wellbeing. We are grateful to Congress and the Administration for their efforts to enact of this historic bipartisan legislation. It will benefit every American as well as future generations by making critical investments in our nation’s water infrastructure,” National Water Resources Association President Christine Arbogast said.
“The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) applauds this bipartisan commitment to invest in water infrastructure on a historic scale which will provide western water managers with valuable resources for storage, conveyance, recycling, ecosystem and dam safety projects. Today represents a milestone in our nation’s collective ability to achieve water infrastructure resilience and ensure a safe, reliable and high-quality supply of water now and for future generations,” ACWA Executive Director David Eggerton said.
“Amid the searing drought across the West and another catastrophic wildfire season, the $8 billion investment included for water infrastructure investments comes at a critical time. We are appreciative of the bipartisan investment that has been made in new and aging infrastructure as well as water conveyance facilities. Farmers can now look forward to long-needed infrastructure enhancements necessary to produce a safe and reliable food supply,” California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson said.
“We urge the Administration to quickly drive implementation of the Western water provisions. Time, like water, is in short supply. We cannot let red tape and activist litigation stall or block the many long overdue projects necessary to repair and enhance our aging water infrastructure and develop reliable new sources of water supply,” Western Growers President and CEO Dave Puglia said.
The coalition includes more than 220 organizations from 15 states that collectively represent $120 billion in agricultural production—nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country—and many of the local and regional public water agencies that supply water to more than 75 million urban, suburban and rural residents.
About Association of California Water Agencies:
The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) is a statewide association of public agencies whose more than 450 members are responsible for about 90% of the water delivered in California. For more than a century, our mission has been clear: To provide comprehensive leadership, advocacy and resources for California public water agencies to ensure a high quality and reliable water supply in an environmentally sustainable and fiscally responsible manner.
About California Farm Bureau:
The California Farm Bureau works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of nearly 32,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 5.5 million Farm Bureau members.
About Family Farm Alliance:
The Family Farm Alliance is a powerful advocate for family farmers, ranchers, irrigation districts, and allied industries in seventeen Western states. The Alliance is focused on one mission – To ensure the availability of reliable, affordable irrigation water supplies to Western farmers and ranchers.
About National Water Resources Association:
National Water Resources Association advocates federal policies, legislation, and regulations promoting protection, management, development, and beneficial use of water resources. The association is dedicated to achieving sustainable water supply for all beneficial uses in an economical and environmentally responsible manner.
About Western Growers:
Founded in 1926, Western Growers represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California, Colorado and New Mexico. Our members and their workers provide over half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, including half of America’s fresh organic produce.