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Letter to the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House and the Hon. Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader - Newhouse, Costa Urge Inclusion of Water Infrastructure in COVID-19 Relief Package

Letter

Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy,
We write to express our support and our willingness to work with you to ensure the
inclusion of much-needed water infrastructure provisions in any forthcoming COVID-19
economic and infrastructure recovery package. As Congress considers the next comprehensive
relief package, we ask that you include Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure projects to address
our nation's most severe hydrological challenges, including water storage, conservation, and
delivery.
Over the past several decades, the combination of drought conditions and the lack of
federal investments in our nation's water delivery infrastructure has led to severe water
challenges and shortages across the country. In recent years, this is especially true for the
western United States, where drought conditions, aging infrastructure, incomplete development,
and prohibitive landowner costs threaten water delivery to municipalities and agricultural
production. In addition to these challenges already present, the impacts of the COVID-19
pandemic are now exacerbating water resource conditions, and our nation's food supply chains,
something that will impact each and every American. Agriculture production across the West --
which the country's food supply relies upon -- are dependent upon the significant water resources
supplied by the Bureau of Reclamation projects. These projects benefit the entire nation through
the food, fiber, power, and significant economic benefits they generate. A total of approximately
$20 billion dollars built the entire Bureau of Reclamation infrastructure system. Every year, this
infrastructure provides more than three times this initial investment, returning over $63 billion in
direct and associated economic activity.
As we begin debate on how to restart the American economy, we believe investing in our
nation's infrastructure -- and specifically water infrastructure -- will create a vast opportunity to
address water challenges facing communities in the rural West and across the country. A
comprehensive COVID-19 economic and infrastructure package must include policies and
processes to streamline water projects and provide our communities with the ability to move
forward with the construction or implementation of water conservation and delivery systems in
an expeditious manner. We cannot allow the status quo of hamstringing water infrastructure
rehabilitation and development to continue. We must equip water providers with the tools to
efficiently address water shortages in order to provide important and desperately-needed services
for our constituents. By streamlining outdated, burdensome processes, we can also ensure federal
taxpayer dollars are efficiently tackling the severe water challenges facing communities across
the country.
We must deliver on the demands from our constituents for a safe and reliable water
supply. With investments in our water infrastructure, we can ensure that our constituents not only
have a long-term and reliable water supply for generations to come, but also a safe and resilient
food supply as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. As the House of Representatives
considers a comprehensive infrastructure package in response to COVID-19, we stand ready to
work with you to ensure our nation's water needs are addressed in this important effort.


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