FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The leaders of both the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation came to the Central Valley on Wednesday to see for themselves the impacts of climate change on local farms and communities.
President Biden’s signature on the “Infrastructure Law” and “Inflation Reduction Act” provides funding for local water projects including savings, storage and infrastructure.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland met with farmers, irrigation districts and water agencies.
“To supply irrigation, irrigators, farmers and local communities with the water they need essentially to survive,” said Haaland.
The visit comes as governments battle the drought. Haaland also highlighted the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $4 billion in funding specifically for water management and conservation efforts across the West Coast.
California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crawfoot says drought is fought with saving and storage.
“Projects that recharge our groundwater aquifers that identify surface storage, where we can actually prepare ourselves for increasing, intensified winter storms and capture that water during those wet periods for dry periods, expanding water recycling, expanding stormwater capture in urban areas, improving and accelerating water efficiency and eliminating our water waste,” said Crawfoot.
Secretary Haaland visited the Madera farm of Kevin Harman, where Harman showed her a new drip irrigation device that cuts water use up to 25% by delivering it underground directly to tree roots.
“When it’s in the ground, it does not evaporate. … because the soil is wet below the soil surface, it doesn’t generate the weed growth which takes water just like a tree does,” explained Harman.
Secretary Haaland says the government’s goal is to minimize the impacts of drought and develop a long-term plan to facilitate conservation and economic growth.