Farmers Pushing for Better Water Policy

From Western Farm Press.

An excerpt.

“The American food consumer has access to fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and meat throughout the year. That’s largely because of Western producers and the projects that provide water to these farmers and ranchers.

“Western irrigators have been dealing with changes in climate and hydrology for more than a century. But the outlook for water supplies in the future is not positive. There is also growing demand for existing water supplies from growing cities and the environment. Unfortunately, there are some interests who simply view irrigated agriculture as a target for one thing — water.

“We must look to several solutions to maintain food security for the nation and the economic wellbeing of the Western landscape.

“We must invest in Western water infrastructure and technology.

“We need to improve regulatory processes at the federal level to expedite permitting, and build projects within a reasonable period of time at a reasonable cost.

“We should seek opportunities to create collaborative partnerships among federal, state and local entities who are also interested in finding water solutions.

“New water infrastructure projects support Western farms, ranches and rural communities, sometimes in nontraditional ways. Multiple-benefit fish and wildlife habitat restoration projects in California’s Sacramento River Valley and in Washington’s Yakima River Basin have been led by local irrigators. They want to improve fisheries for the long term to protect their irrigation water supplies.

“Congress has helped this past year by including the Bureau of Reclamation provisions in the massive package passed last December. The creation of an aging infrastructure account in Treasury for loans to local water organizations will help fund and affordably finance improvements and rehab of our aging facilities, some of which are over a century old.

“Other new authorities will broaden water conservation programs, create a new collaborative program for snowpack monitoring and runoff forecasting, and improve the use of federal facilities for aquifer recharge. All of these new programs will be very helpful in managing Western water resources.

“Avoiding challenges

“What we do not need are more federal regulatory red tape and added environmental requirements for new federal programs that could quickly render otherwise viable water projects as infeasible.

“We believe a suite of water supply-enhancement and demand-management actions are needed for a diversified, resilient and successful water management portfolio.”

Retrieved March 22, 2021 from Pushing Congress to move on aging water infrastructure (farmprogress.com)

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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