On Monday, a coalition of 150 organizations representing water and agricultural interests urged President Trump to address aging Western water infrastructure in forthcoming COVID-19 relief efforts.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of safety and stability provided by domestic food production,” the groups stated in separate letters to Congress and the president. “As this crisis has pointed out, a stable domestic food supply is essential and of national security interest. For farmers and ranchers to survive, and for food to continue to be produced here in the American West, a stable water supply is a necessary part of any conversation about our national food security.”
Existing water infrastructure in the West needs rehabilitation and improvement. Most of the federally funded water infrastructure projects that benefit the large cities, rural communities and small farms in the West were built more than 50 years ago. As hydrological conditions in the West change and populations continue to expand, failure to address water security has become increasingly critical.
The coalition letters emphasize that water conservation, water recycling, watershed management, conveyance, desalination, water transfers, groundwater storage and surface storage are all needed in a diversified management portfolio.
“If and when additional infrastructure funding is discussed as part of a larger economic stimulus package, we need your help to ensure that federal dollars flow to the water infrastructure needs” of the West, the letters conclude.
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