In the wake of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) declaring a federal water shortage of the Colorado River Basin, NGWA is again stressing the need for increased funding for aquifer recharge and water reuse projects in the western United States.
On August 16, the USBR declared its first-ever water shortage of the Colorado River Basin, which will trigger a smaller amount of water distributed from Lake Mead and cuts to individual state water allocations. Arizona will be receiving an 18 percent reduction and Nevada will be receiving a reduction of 7 percent beginning January 2022.
NGWA argues in a letter to Congressional leaders that while the allotment of water will decrease, there is no evidence that demand for water will, and that much of the demand will likely be filled by expanded extraction of groundwater throughout the Colorado River region and even beyond.
From the letter:
“Should this increased extraction of groundwater not be managed adequately and without an appropriate aquifer recharge policy, our country could be faced with far larger water supply and food production issues.”
To better address this expected expansion of groundwater extraction, NGWA is urging Congress to support funding measures for managed aquifer recharge projects and water reuse programs within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The bipartisan bill, which passed the Senate earlier this month, is awaiting consideration from the U.S. House of Representatives, which is on recess until September 20.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains more than $8.3 billion in funding for western water projects to mitigate drought and water quality issues.