Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power held an oversight hearing on "A Roadmap for Increasing our Water and Hydropower Supplies: The Need for New or Expanded Multi-Purpose Surface Storage Facilities." This hearing examined the growing need for and the multiple-use benefits of increased water storage and ways to expedite the construction of such facilities.
"Surface storage continues to have lasting and positive impacts not only in Central Washington but to the country in general. Yet, these projects are under constant assault by litigation and other pressures to change their operations to other purposes. I will continue to oppose these policies that change existing projects and their historical mission. What is obvious is that it is necessary for us to build more surface storage if we want to maintain our prosperity," said Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04).
"There is no shortage of water and no shortage of economical storage sites. Financing has never been a problem for projects that produce abundant water and power -- experience shows us that such projects pay for themselves many times over," said Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-04). "What we suffer is a superabundance of bureaucracy and a catastrophic shortage of vision and political will. That is what has to change."
Multi-purpose dams and reservoirs can generate affordable emission-free electricity, store water suppliers for farmers, ranchers and municipalities, tame ravaging floods, provide recreational opportunities and provide year-round cold water flows for fisheries. Unfortunately, bureaucratic "paralysis-by-analysis" approaches and sometimes duplicative federal regulations have stymied proposed water storage projects for years while environmental regulations, litigation and population growth strain current water storage infrastructure.
During today's hearing, Committee Members heard from witnesses who testified on the need for more storage and obstacles the federal regulatory process place on building both federal and non-federal water storage.