THE CONGRESSIONAL WATER CAUCUS AND THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION HOST THE FOURTH ANNUAL NATIONAL WATER POLICY DIALOGUE
"Moving from Concepts to Action"
Today, the co-chairs of the Congressional Water Caucus welcomed the American Water Resources Association for the Fourth Annual National Water Policy Dialogue on Capitol Hill. The purpose of this Policy Dialogue was to discuss how concepts in water resources management can best be moved to legislative and executive action.
"This briefing, along with the ones we have previously hosted this session, allowed Members and their staff to learn about and discuss a number of key issues facing our country's rapidly depleting water supply. As EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles noted at today's event, Water runs through everything. We can hardly have a discussion about energy, the environment, agriculture, and repairing aging infrastructure without specifically discussing water.' He urged Congressional Members and staff, as well as water industry leaders, to seize the current climate."
Sixty water resources leaders from around the nation, representing both government affairs and private sector water agencies, were on hand at the Policy Dialogue. Among those in attendance were experts from the Environmental and Water Resources Institute, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Wildlife Federation, American Rivers, the Alliance for Water Efficiency, Irrigation Association, American Public Works Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, RAND's Environmental and Water Resources division, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and more.
"The 1973 National Water Commission study was the last time that we took a snapshot of our nation's current water issues and needs. Since then, a number of studies have been done, but none of them has been charged with taking a nationwide look at maintaining and increasing our water supplies. In fact, many agree with me that a 35-year hiatus in this inquiry is long enough. During the Policy Dialogue today, we held a series of interactive sessions intended to gauge the direction that experts in the water industry believe that we should go toward achieving an adequate and dependable water supply for all Americans for years and years to come. Each attendee was given three colored dots, and was asked to place the dots on the three water issues they believed were most urgent. The majority of participants placed a dot on the need to create a national water assessment,' which is exactly what my bill, H.R 135, provides. This simple survey told me that we are long overdue for establishing another national water commission. I hope that my colleagues will recognize the urgency and act quickly to get H.R. 135 signed into law this year."
Today's event highlighted three topics-reconciling contradictory water policies in order to develop a vision, improving collaboration among the entities responsible for water resources management, and broadening the role of science in making better policy decisions.