As the debate continues over how best to address California’s water needs, Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) has introduced new comprehensive legislation that would provide a long-term plan to improve water sustainability in California and across the country.
The Water and Energy Sustainability through Technology Act (WEST Act) includes provisions that support innovative technologies and infrastructure for urban and agricultural areas, as well as efforts to improve efficiency.
“Our water infrastructure is declining and in need of repair,” said Congressman McNerney. “Water supply in California, and across the nation, is a serious challenge, but we’ve only been presented with short-sighted and ill-conceived plans that rely on the shipment of water from one area to another. Instead, we should be focusing on creating water sustainability through conservation, recycling, and capture.”
Currently, the United States uses approximately 80 billion gallons of fresh groundwater per day. Under the WEST Act, reimbursements would be authorized for recycling and reuse projects that create new water, and regional self-sufficiency would be improved through the encouragement of stormwater capture and increased water storage. It would also require a study on ways to improve leak detection location, mapping, and communications for pipeline systems and provide grants to implement these solutions.
“It’s time to change the narrative and focus on practical, forward-thinking solutions instead of high-cost, short-term fixes,” said Congressman McNerney. “California has long been a leading innovator in energy and technology and we now have the opportunity to apply that type of ingenuity to modernizing our water systems.”
The WEST Act would also establish a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation groundwater information system and groundwater management technical assistance, in addition to a smart energy and water efficiency program to support innovative technology solutions for agricultural use and to improve efficiency at federal buildings.
“This bill is the result of extensive engagement with a diverse group of stakeholders – including farmers, technology innovators, industry and community leaders,” Congressman McNerney stated. “These are tangible, commonsense approaches that we can accomplish in the short-term that will benefit all of us in the long-term.”