WASHINGTON, March 23, 2016 - Speaking at the White House Water Summit, Congressman Jared Huffman said he doesn’t think enough has been done to address agricultural water use in his drought-stricken home state of California.
“We have gone to really herculean extremes on urban water efficiency and conservation,” the Democrat said, adding that more still could be done. However, he said that collective interests have done “very little on agricultural water conservation, and yet that is where most of the water is used.”
The Summit, held at the White House on World Water Day, focused on a variety of water issues ranging from price and scarcity to infrastructure and use. Huffman, who represents the coastal area of northern California, was part of a panel on agricultural ramifications of water issues, and he said there has been a lack of “investments in cutting-edge water efficient technology” during a “historic drought of record.”
“In too many cases, folks just turned on the groundwater pumps and created tomorrow’s problem to solve today’s problem,” Huffman said. “We need to figure out creative ways to incentivize and promote water conservation across the board in agriculture where there are enormous savings to be had.”
Shortly before the ag panel spoke, Mia Sheppard with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, announced that its petition recognizing “serious risks to the country’s water supply” had been signed by more than 1,000 sportsmen. The risks include rising water temperatures coupled with decreasing water levels. The petition calls for action from federal officials.
In all, more than 150 organizations took part in the Summit, announcing about $5 billion in private sector funding for research and infrastructure projects. A National Water Model was also released. The White House said the model “will dramatically enhance” river-forecasting capabilities for about 2.7 million locations, up from the current 4,000.
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