Congressmen: include water infrastructure in COVID-19 relief package
Last updated 5/20/2020 at 9:02am
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) last week led a letter to congressional leadership urging the inclusion of critical water infrastructure in the upcoming COVID-19 economic and infrastructure recovery package. Signed by 24 bipartisan members of Congress, the letter outlines the importance of Bureau of Reclamation water infrastructure projects in addressing water storage, conservation, and delivery to rural areas and municipalities across the country.
“As we begin debate on how to restart the American economy, we believe investing in our nation’s infrastructure – and specifically water infrastructure – will create a vast opportunity to address water challenges facing communities in the rural West and across the country,” wrote the lawmakers. “A comprehensive COVID-19 economic and infrastructure package must include policies and processes to streamline water projects and provide our communities with the ability to move forward with the construction or implementation of water conservation and delivery systems in an expeditious manner.”
The letter written May 12 continues, “We must deliver on the demands from our constituents for a safe and reliable water supply. With investments in our water infrastructure, we can ensure that our constituents not only have a long-term and reliable water supply for generations to come, but also a safe and resilient food supply as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Agriculture production across the West – which the country’s food supply relies upon – are dependent upon the significant water resources supplied by the Bureau of Reclamation projects,” they wrote. “These projects benefit the entire nation through the food, fiber, power, and significant economic benefits they generate. A total of approximately $20 billion dollars built the entire Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure system. Every year, this infrastructure provides more than three times this initial investment, returning over $63 billion in direct and associated economic activity.”