Group seeking to avert freshwater crisis grows

The alliance – which was convened by the Wisconsin-based Johnson Foundation at Wingspread – is planning to host a series of regional events in the U.S. to boost its strategy, create more awareness of freshwater supply risks and “showcase real solutions.”

The group – which includes farm industry officials – unveiled a strategy last September which warns that the U.S. is heading toward a crisis absent better policies and planning to meet the competing demands of farming, cities, rural areas, energy and other uses (we wrote about the report here).

It is calling for steps ranging from better coordination among federal, state and local governments (and other sectors); a national commission to address freshwater challenges; better integrating water management and energy policy (power plants and oil-and-gas development uses lots of water); a “full throttle” effort to develop improved technologies on supply and demand; and many others.

The alliance is ramping up at a time when federal agencies that play a major role in managing water supplies are facing major strains – an issue that’s surfacing on Capitol Hill Tuesday.

The panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that oversees water policy will meet in the afternoon to review budget plans for agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, both of which are facing budget cuts.

The title of the hearing is “finding ways to do more with less.”