Yesterday, at a House Water and Power Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano called for increased support for water projects within the Bureau of Reclamation's proposed budget, pointing out that the conservation, recycling, and other water-efficiency projects receiving cuts in the budget are a cost-effective way of creating new water and new jobs.
"Conservation, water recycling, and aquifer cleanup projects create new jobs and provide our communities with a clean and reliable water supply," Napolitano said. "Having $400 million in approved water-efficiency projects for an agency with a $20 million yearly budget does not make sense. We know these projects are needed, and we must provide them with the necessary funding to move forward. I do not dispute the need to conserve and cut, and this budget generally outlines a smart path towards lower costs. However, we need greater funding for water projects that create jobs and prepare our communities for future drought cycles."
Napolitano cited a January study conducted by the Economic Roundtable on 53 water-efficiency projects in the Los Angeles area, which found that investment in water efficiency-related projects created even more jobs-per-dollar than housing construction projects (study available here).
Specifically, Napolitano expressed support for the Title XVI and WaterSMART programs, which split the costs of water efficiency projects between local communities and the federal government. These small-scale projects decrease reliance on imported water and provide new water jobs at the local level.
Napolitano is the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee's Water and Power Subcommittee.