The Irrigation Association, Fairfax, Virginia, sent a letter to U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, both in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14, emphasizing the importance of water use efficiency and a prompt implementation of Inflation Reduction Act provisions to fight Western drought.
While written by IA CEO Natasha Rankin, CAE, and IA Advocacy Director Nathan Bowen, the letter represented the call for action against Western drought sounded out by the 1,300 member companies of the IA.
“The reason I wrote the letter is that I wanted to show our members and industry writ large that this is an important issue for the IA and that we’re working on their behalf,” Bowen says.
On Aug. 16, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law, extending $4 billion for drought relief efforts and $40 billion for ag, forestry and rural community investment, all in the Western U.S.
As the administration implements drought mitigation efforts like the IRA, Bowen and Rankin asked for it to prioritize the use of water efficiency tools and systems, consider the interests of impacted stakeholders and industries and recognize the economic impacts on the agriculture and landscape sectors.
The IA letter also encouraged the administration to adopt a long-term drought-targeting approach that rewards efficient water use; supports sustainable economic and population growth; develops, maintains and manages needed infrastructure; emphasizes the value of water reuse strategies; educates stakeholders about water use efficiency; and promotes adoption of best practices.
“It’s really important to emphasize that we have to be a part of the solution too,” Bowen says. “We have to come to the table as an industry and offer solutions, which I would argue we have a lot that we can offer.”
Read more about Western drought.
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