Energy and Natural Resources Committee Developing Western Water and Drought Legislation

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power Chairman Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., last week held a bipartisan roundtable to discuss opportunities to reduce federal red tape for aquifer recharge when it does not impact other water users, fully respects state primacy on groundwater, and complies with state water law. Following the subcommittee’s August hearing on water supply and drought resilience, this roundtable marks another step to gather input from water managers and develop a collaborative west-wide water infrastructure and drought resilience bill.

“Arizona has developed model water policies by focusing on long-term infrastructure needs, flexible management, and supply certainty,” said Water and Power Subcommittee Chairman Flake. “We will continue to build on last year’s drought bill, this year’s subcommittee hearing, and input we have received from meetings and roundtables like these, to craft a package of much needed water supply and drought resilience legislation.”

“While wildfires and hurricanes have demanded much of our attention in recent months, it is important that we not lose sight of the long-term water supply challenges facing many western states,” said Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “I appreciate Sen. Flake’s continued leadership and am excited to work with him to develop legislation addressing these issues.”    

The legislative package under development will build on proposals discussed over the last several years and advance policy to encourage development of needed water infrastructure, remove barriers to better management of existing infrastructure, and increase supply certainty for communities so they can attract greater private investment and innovation in water projects.

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