United Fresh reached out to key offices in the House of Representatives to urge their support for S. 612, the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act to address America’s water infrastructure system and specifically, the California drought crisis. The ongoing drought conditions, which have ramifications that extend beyond California, have threatened the state’s ability to continue to ensure an abundant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables to all Americans.
While important work will still need to be done to fully address the water infrastructure needs of California, the measure takes long-overdue and much-needed steps in the right direction. In particular, the measure will help ensure that the state’s water infrastructure system uses sound science to pump water more efficiently. For example, the language calls for short term projects that will allow for the efficient pumping of water during times when species of fish are not nearby and reducing pumping when fish are close.
The long term provisions, which are fully offset, go toward storage, recycling, reuse and desalination projects that are essential to addressing the current crisis, as well as mitigating future crises. Finally, the measure has strong environmental protection provisions to ensure that it is implemented in keeping with the Endangered Species Act and relevant biological provisions.
The House passed the measure on December 8 by a vote of 360 to 61. The Senate must now consider the measure before they adjourn for the year.