Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Water, water isn't everywhere -- and that's a problem

America finds itself now in the midst of the dog-days of August, a time when the heat and humidity tends to hit home a little harder as the summer season winds down. But it is also a time when many states and localities realize a lack of water is having profound effects on the way government operates and residents live their lives. 
These concerns are best known and most acute in much of California, but worries over water are not a problem for the Golden State alone. Aging and inferior water infrastructure is a major concern nationwide, and one that must be addressed by policymakers on all levels of government if the problem is going to be conquered.
That's why you have unions and business coming together demanding solutions in many cases, like the San Francisco Buildings and Construction Trades Council and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Leaders from both wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle late last month there is a dramatic need to modernize water systems. Both groups have endorsed California Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to fix them:
We rely on our state’s outdated water distribution system to deliver water to 25 million Californians and 3 million acres of farmland. But this 60-year-old water delivery system of aging dirt levees, aqueducts and pumps is outdated and at risk of collapse in the event of a major earthquake or flood. Fundamental structural problems would be even more pronounced during the extreme weather patterns — drought followed by a series of severe storms — that experts say will become the new norm because of climate change. 
California Water Fix will replace this aging infrastructure, better protect against disruptions to water supply during earthquakes, floods and natural disasters, and will improve the ability to move and store water during wet years. This project needs to move forward because it represents the most viable approach to securing our state’s water future. We strongly encourage Californians to join us by supporting this plan and commenting on the environmental impact report.
Others are also getting behind the effort to improve water infrastructure elsewhere. Whether its editorial boards in Texas or local government officials in Kansas, there is a profound understanding that more needs to be done. Water is a commodity we all need. It's necessary for life. 
These type of infrastructure issues must be moved to the front burner. Government at all levels needs to invest in people, and that in turn will help business. Let's get America working by improving systems we all need.