Water infrastructure

Western agricultural groups are asking Congress to make improvements to infrastructure a priority.

IRVINE, Calif. — More than 100 Western water and agricultural organizations are urging Congress to include rebuilding and improving water infrastructure in any construction legislation it considers.

The group sent a letter March 25 to key committees and Western senators, saying investments are needed to meet current and future water demands.

The group is led by the Western Growers Association, California Farm Bureau Federation, Family Farm Alliance and the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

The group noted that President Donald Trump has said rebuilding highways, roads and bridges is an area both political parties should be able to work on together. The Democratic party’s list of priorities includes an ambitious infrastructure program.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has said he intends to lead efforts to produce a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure bill to fund transportation and water projects.

Water from the Colorado Rockies drives the economies of thousands of communities on its way to the ocean and as people ask more “of this precious resource” they can’t ignore “creaks and groans” of aging infrastructure and new technologies, said Robert Sakata, president of the Colorado association.

“Recent wet weather not withstanding, we know persistent drought conditions in the West are the new normal. We must invest in earnest in the long-term security of our water supplies,” said Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers.

— Dan Wheat

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