Rethinking US Water Policy

June 2015

June marks the beginning of summer, and summer has sparked the statewide dialogue for water policy. Redefining water policy is at the forefront of national news. At the 18th Annual Western Regional Conference, Senator JP Pomnichowski (MT) gave an intriguing presentation about water policy in the western states. She described the importance of clean water and sanitation, and also highlighted the necessity for the protection of key water resources in the western region. Dr. Burke Griggs, the Assistant Attorney General of Kansas, also gave a presentation regarding water litigation at the 22nd Annual Midwestern Regional Conference.

With the extreme drought continuing in California, and the announcement of President Obama’s reformed water policy, it seems that water is on everyone’s mind; and for a good reason too. Reports state that many of the Western states, like California, have a little over a year’s worth of water left in their annual reserves, and the snow dependent states have had record-low levels of snowpack. Some are arguing for a new and slightly controversial national water policy, calling for the redistribution of resources from more water abundant states, like those in the Great Lakes region. The idea was first introduced by former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson in 2008, but has yet to have been seriously considered until now.

Following this, President Obama gave a speech in the last week of May announcing the federal government’s authority to mitigate water pollution in the United States. Officials representing farm communities argue that this change will pose some difficulty for farmers and will alter the value of their farmland. Others argue that this is a necessary reform for water sanitation and public safety.

You can find more articles regarding water policy below: