Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to first thank Chairman Gordon for his hard work on this important legislation and for including the text of my amendment in his Manager’s amendment. This bill is critical to states like Nevada, where drought constantly threatens the availability of our already limited water supply and thus our environment and our economy.
My language in this Manager’s amendment directs the interagency committee established in the bill to work to improve water prediction models and their applications, including analysis of variations in natural supply, watershed hydrology, human and ecological demand, and infrastructure.
As we celebrate Earth Day this week, it’s important that we recognize that water has become, and will continue to be, a significant limiting resource for the western United States. It is vital that we fully understand the current distribution of this resource while also being able to accurately predict the impacts of future conditions like growth and climate change on its availability. Accurate predictions about the availability of water resources will help our communities as they work to ensure businesses and families have access to a clean, safe, and adequate water supply. Our drinking and wastewater utilities are required to plan for a number of long-term uncertainties. In order to successfully plan and adapt to change, much more focused, applied research must be done.
The Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Nevada is tackling this problem head on by establishing the Nevada Water Resources Data, Modeling and Visualization Center, which will enable better understanding of the present and future distribution of water within our state. Accordingly, DRI, in collaboration with UNR and UNLV, has established an experimental facility in Boulder City to collect data regarding water interactions in desert soils. This will lead to improved predictions of the potential impact of a changing climate on groundwater recharge.
The work being done at educational institutions in Nevada illustrates just how much potential there is to improve federal coordination of predictive water modeling. Whether communities are worried about drought or flooding, snowmelt or urban runoff, the improvement of water prediction models will help communities across the country adapt to changes in the natural and built environment.
So thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for your hard work and including me in this amendment.