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Future Role of Water Storage to Be Discussed

                     Water & Power Subcommittee to hold hearing

April 12, 2005

Washington, DC - Tomorrow the Subcommittee on Water and Power will discuss the future role of water storage as a major part of our nation's water supply portfolio.  The oversight hearing, "The Role of New Surface and Groundwater Storage in Providing Reliable Water and Power Supplies and Reducing Drought's Impacts" will be held at 1:00 p.m. in 1334 Longworth on Wednesday, April 13, 2005.

 "Water infrastructure development has not kept pace with demand," said Water and Power Subcommittee Chairman George Radanovich (R-CA).  "This hearing is being held to reignite the commitment to water storage that the federal government began many years ago.  New water supply projects are crucial to meeting our water needs in the West.  With ongoing drought, population growth, water-use conflicts and regulatory requirements, Westerners must be proactive in storing and securing the water necessary for our families, farms, businesses and the environment." 

The purpose of this hearing is to determine how additional storage can enhance water and power supplies and will also assess the appropriate federal role in the process.  The subcommittee will hear from one panel of western water experts who deliver water to communities and encounter supply issues on a daily basis.

"Every watershed in my district is working to improve water use, storage and conservation," said Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR).  "All this work becomes increasingly important for wildlife, farms and communities during these times of drought in the West.  As the demands for water increase across the country, our responsibility grows to deal with the challenges.  We know that it can take a decade or more to plan and construct additional storage capacity, so it is essential that the federal government is ready for the task."

"This seasons' heavy storms in the western states illustrate the need for additional storage capacity.  We need to be able to capture runoff water in the wet years so that there is less demand on the rest of our water resources in the dry years," said Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA), author of H.R. 2828, better known as Cal-Fed.

In the last congressional session, the Resources Committee passed Cal-Fed, marking the end of a decade-long Congressional effort to complete this critical water program for the state of California.   However, the success of Cal-Fed depends upon expanded and better-managed water storage.  Tomorrow's hearing will address this need in California, as well as the rest of the Western states.  

"In my home state of California, a federal water storage project has not been built in a generation yet the population has increased by nearly 15 million," said Radanovich.  "Although states and localities are trying to meet water needs through various means, the federal government can help by encouraging water technologies, maintaining current projects and building more storage."

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