Federal Water Policy

Federal Water Policy

While many of the decisions about our water future lie in the hands of state and local decision makers, there are also ways that we work with the federal government to promote smart water policies. Here are some highlights of our Federal work.

  • Federal Water Infrastructure: In the wake of COVID-19 as the federal government looks to rebuild and strengthen the economy many groups are asking that some federal stimulus money be spent on green water infrastructure, water conservation and efficiency programs, drinking water safety and agricultural efficiencies. The Moving Forward Act H.R. 2 was introduced in the House and includes important water provisions. Water infrastructure projects are job creators. Investments to protect our rivers and safeguard them for the future does more than help the environment; they water systems are economic drivers at a time we need to put people back to work. Read our June 2020 letter to House leaders here.
  • Drought Contingency Planning: In January 2019, Governor Ducey signed the Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) into law.  This landmark legislation allowed the passage of a system-wide plan to help protect and stabilize the Colorado River and Arizona’s water supplies. The business voice was critical in supporting the passage of the DCP legislation. Companies from all regions and sectors of Arizona’s economy played an active role in advocating in support of the legislation to secure Arizona’s water future. The passage of the DCP legislation in Arizona would not have been possible without the strong support of nearly every sector of water-users statewide, including the business community. Read the letter from 23 Chambers and business voices urging the passage of this critical legislation here.
  • Farm Bill Reauthorization: BWS worked to make sure the 2018 Farm Bill was reauthorized to increase federal investment in critical Western drought resiliency and water supply infrastructure programs. Despite partisan divides, a reauthorization of this broad-based bill was passed in December 2018 and signed by President Trump. Reauthorized for five years, the 2018 Farm Bill will provide hundreds of millions in dedicated federal funds to support water efficiencies and enable irrigators to better address long-term drought risks in the Colorado River Basin. In early 2019 corporations with major operations and major Western chambers of commerce in the Southwest/Colorado River basin recently sent this letter to the USDA supporting the funding and implementation of key elements of the 2018 Farm Bill. In November 2019 the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Greater Phoenix Chamber and many other local chambers sent this letter to USDA leaders urging that drought initiatives in the Farm Bill be funded so that agricultural producers can proactively address drought-related risks and concerns. Read more about Farm Bill investments helping farmers and irrigators here from our partners at Western Resource Advocates.

To educate members of Congress and staff on Western water needs and priorities in the 2018 Farm Bill, BWS joined leadership of the Irrigation Association (IA) on a Washington, DC fly-in. Joining the trip as members of the IA and BWS were Warren Gorowitz, VP of Sustainability for Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply in Phoenix; and Bryce Carnehl, Sales Manager for Hunter Industries in San Diego.