Groundwater advocates: Don’t overlook water wells in infrastructure bills

Groundwater advocates: Don’t overlook water wells in infrastructure bills
Photo by Silvan Schuppisser on Unsplash

SACRAMENTO—As the focus on infrastructure funding continues to grow nationally and at the state level, groundwater associations are asking to be included in legislation. The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) and 20 state groundwater associations this month sent a letter to congressional leaders asking for inclusion of water wells in upcoming infrastructure legislation and grant funding to support safe drinking water for water well-served communities.

“Increased funding for our nation’s water infrastructure has almost unanimous bi-partisan support in Congress because it impacts every citizen and community,” said NGWA CEO Terry S. Morse. “By properly utilizing and supporting water wells within future infrastructure bills, we will greatly increase the amount of people served in small and rural communities while at the same saving federal dollars. We see this as an extraordinary opportunity, and we hope our leaders in Washington agree.”

An estimated 193,000 Nevadans receive 100% of their water supply from groundwater, in the form of residential wells. Groundwater sources also serve hundreds of thousands of Nevadans through community water systems and agricultural irrigation wells, as well as the mining and thermoelectric industries.

NGWA notes that most water wells are located in located in small, rural and oftentimes disadvantaged communities. It argues that expanding grant eligibility through the Safe Drinking Water Act can help these communities to rehabilitate, deepen or replace their water wells. Such improvements are more cost effective than connecting to public water systems, NGWA notes.

Greater investment in groundwater infrastructure could also positively impact Nevada’s business and workforce. More than 2,000 Nevadans work in the groundwater industry, including contractors, scientists and engineers, generating more than $550 million annually in sales. That number doesn’t include the public service and higher education workers involved in groundwater projects.

Those interested in groundwater policies can visit NGWA’s SmartWaterPolicies.com. 

Source: NGWA