Former USDA Official Wants Farm Bill to Protect Drinking Water

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Posted: Sunday, November 12, 2017 3:22 pm

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Speaking before the Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas, the former chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, explained how the upcoming Farm Bill can advance collaborations that protect source water.

David White, speaking on behalf of the American Water Works Association, detailed how water providers and farmers can form partnerships that are supported by NRCS and other USDA programs. He provided examples of past successes that benefited both farmers and downstream communities.

"Every year, voluntary, private land conservation programs spend about $6 billion and make incredible advances in natural resource protection," said White. "The American Water Works Association is seeking to ensure that at least 10 percent of those funds, some $600 million a year, is spent on protecting the drinking water that Americans use every day."

AWWA is urging U.S. Congress to reauthorize the Farm Bill to:

  • Provide robust funding for the conservation title;
  • Emphasize protecting source water in all conservation programs;
  • Expand opportunities for the NRCS to work with water systems to prioritize source water protection activities in each state;
  • Increase benefits for farmers who employ practices that benefit downstream water quality; and
  • Ensure at least 10 percent of conservation program funds are focused on the protection of drinking water.

"Cooperative activities represent the best path forward to achieve water quality improvements," White said.

SOURCE: American Water Works Association

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