WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — The American Water Works Association, the largest association of water professionals in the world, today applauded the U.S. Congress for passing a Farm Bill that recognizes the importance of protecting drinking water sources from nutrient runoff.
“This is truly a historic moment for source water protection,” said AWWA CEO David LaFrance. “The policy included in this Farm Bill will direct $4 billion dollars over the next ten years to conservation practices that protect sources of drinking water. AWWA offers its sincere appreciation to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees for their commitment to protecting our communities’ sources of drinking water.
“We also must single out Subcommittee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-OK, Subcommittee Ranking Member Marcia Fudge, D-OH, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, for all they did to advocate for the inclusion of these important policies in the final product,” LaFrance added.
Farm Bill conservation programs, along with partnerships between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, water utilities and farmers, can be key to protecting drinking water sources.
“AWWA believes the ‘downstream benefits’ and public health benefits of these conservation programs make the conservation title of the Farm Bill extremely important to all Americans who depend on clean drinking water,” said Tracy Mehan, AWWA executive director of government affairs. “We look forward to partnering with USDA to maximize the effectiveness of these programs.”
Every one of AWWA’s legislative priorities were included in the final package including:
• An emphasis on source water protection through all Farm Bill conservation programs;
• 10% of Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation funding directed toward source water protection, an incredible total of $4 billion over the next ten years;
• Authorizes water utilities to work with State technical committees in identifying priority areas in each state; and
• Additional incentives for farmers who employ practices that benefit source waters.
“AWWA began to engage in the Farm Bill process over two years ago to bring more attention to the issue of protecting sources of drinking water through conservation practices funded by the Farm Bill,” Mehan said. “We believe it’s important for USDA to emphasize protection of drinking water sources as part of its overall water quality and water quantity mission.”
Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 51,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.