Harder Leads Bipartisan Efforts Urging Water Storage in Infrastructure Deal
WASHINGTON — Today, Representatives Josh Harder (CA-10) and David Valadao (CA-21) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in writing to the House and Senate leaders urging water storage to be included in any upcoming infrastructure package. The group included Republican Representatives Darrell Issa (CA-50) and Ken Calvert (CA-42), as well as Democratic Representatives Jim Costa (CA-16), John Garamendi (CA-3), Ami Bera (CA-7), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-2), Greg Stanton (AZ-9), and Dina Titus (NV-1).
“California is in the middle of a drought. It’s time Washington acted like it. Our current water infrastructure is way too old and can’t keep up with needs of our families and farmers.” said Rep. Harder. “With snowpack levels well below normal for this time of year and many water users receiving single digit allocations of water from the state, the time to invest in water infrastructure was yesterday. Republicans and Democrats both need water, and I’m making sure that message is loud and clear in Washington.”
Right now, more than 77% of the American West is experiencing a drought. Experts expect the present drought across the region to rival the last one, when the agriculture industry lost almost $4 billion and more than half a million acres went unproductive. Already, farmers who have been in the Central Valley for decades are planning to leave major sections of their fields unseeded.
Read the full letter online here and below:
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McCarthy, and Leader McConnell,
We commend your efforts to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. As Representatives of districts across the American West, we urge you to support Western water infrastructure by including the Bureau of Reclamation in any infrastructure package.
The current water infrastructure throughout the Western United States is aging and can no longer keep up with the increasing demands of our nation. To meet our water supply needs it is imperative that we invest in water infrastructure.
Western states are home to millions of families as well as millions of acres of fertile agricultural lands across the country. Our states play a pivotal role in contributing to the nation’s economy by keeping America fed. We are also home to some of the most iconic lands and diverse species – preserving these regions is critical to our water quality and supply.
Over the last decade, Western states have been plagued by unprecedented wildfires, floods, and droughts. The increasing frequency of these natural disasters has put additional pressure on our already strained water infrastructure. The relentless cycle of these natural disasters highlights the urgency to update our water infrastructure. For the West, droughts and wildfires are no longer seasons, but rather, an ongoing occurrence year-long. That is why we can no longer wait to address our water infrastructure needs. Critical investments in water storage, quality, and drought-resilience is needed now more than ever.
We call on House and Senate leadership to include the Bureau of Reclamation in any infrastructure package. Investing in Western water is essential for the health and economy of our communities and the nation as a whole. We look forward to working with you in the implementation of these common-sense priorities.