Yesterday, Representative John Linder (R-GA) joined three of his colleagues and Water Caucus Co-Chairs, Representatives Jim Costa (D-CA), George Radanovich(R-CA), and Bart Stupak (D-MI), to begin a series of educational briefings on one of the most important issues facing our nation: ensuring an adequate and dependable fresh water supply for all Americans for years to come.
"As a Co-Chair of the Water Caucus, I am very pleased to join my fellow colleagues in a true bi-partisan effort to put the spotlight on this important issue. The U.S. and its resources have changed dramatically over the past three decades. We simply cannot afford to maintain the status quo with something as critical as our nation's fresh water supply. Now is the time to get ahead of this issue, and I believe that the Water Caucus can serve as a channel for sharing the successful strategies and ideas that will allow us to do so."
We are facing trying times as water becomes an increasingly scarce resource and supply is in greater demand. Today's briefing was led by the Irrigation Association, and focused on the issues facing our irrigation industry and how we can better manage the water supply that is needed for our country's agriculture and landscaping. The amounts of water used for irrigation are considerably large compared with the amounts used domestically. Small gains made in irrigation would produce significant increases in water availability for all other uses.
"About 85% of all of our nation's water is used in agriculture, and 40% of that never reaches a plant. My colleagues in California know all too well the problems we are facing as a result of depleting water resources. Fifty percent of all rain that falls on California goes out to the sea unused even once. We need to conserve, repair, use new irrigation techniques and increase storage, so that we can sustain a clean reliable water supply for consumption and agriculture production."
Today's briefing marks the first in a series of Congressional lectures that will be hosted by the Water Caucus throughout this summer. The next briefing has been scheduled for July 9, 2008, and will feature speakers from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ground Water Protection Council.