Clean Water Protection and Preservation

President Bush has launched several far reaching initiatives not only to clean up our drinking water sources, but ensure that all stakeholders, including wildlife, farmers, residents, and tribes, have access to this dwindling resource.

In some areas, particularly the West, increasingly scarce water resources must be allocated to wildlife habitat, recreational use, irrigation, and home use. Water 2025 seeks to balance these demands and modernize water infrastructure systems, ensuring the availability of clean water in even the worst drought conditions. President Bush has requested $21 million, a $13.3 million increase, for these programs.
  • Water 2025 will prevent shortages through conservation, infrastructure modernization, and improved technology, such as desalinization.
  • It incorporates the needs of stakeholders and ensures state, local and tribal government input.
  • With proper planning and responsible allocation, water will be available for wildlife and recreation, as well as human consumption and agricultural irrigation.
"The Interior Department has a lot right with Water 2025. Over-allocation of water is a fundamental problem across the West. The region is growing, but a lot of water has been locked up...something has to change." Steve Malloch, executive director of the Western Water Alliance, A Seattle-based group that includes Trout Unlimited and other conservation organizations. [Excerpted from an article in the Sacramento Bee]

The EPA's Targeted Watersheds Grant Program will provide $15 million in 2004 to protect the nation's lakes and rivers and help provide safe and clean drinking water. Since 2003, the Watershed Program has received more than $30 million in funding.
  • This funding will help protect 14 watersheds in 17 states from coast to coast.
  • The program encourages community-based programs and solutions to protect important drinking water sources, wildlife habitat and recreation areas.
The Small Watershed Dam Restoration is part of the Farm Security Act.
  • It allows for modern technology and conservation techniques to be used to update more than 10,000 small flood prevention dams. These dams have provided recreational and commercial opportunities for many regions.
  • The measure will ensure that the dams continue providing environmental and economic benefits, including flood controls that can destroy property and wildlife habitat.
The Water Quality Trading Policy will help the EPA more successfully and rapidly clean up rivers, streams, and lakes.
  • This public - private partnership solidifies existing regulations and safeguards, but allows states, tribes and businesses greater flexibility and incentives to reach these goals and comply with the Clean Water Act without compromising existing regulatory standards.
  • The policy allows for a cap and trade program to speed results, but requires that technological control requirements be met first.
For 2005, the President has requested a $53 million, 28%, increase for the Abandoned Mine Lands Program. This effort will go towards the cleanup of former coal mining sites that have been abandoned or forfeit by bankrupt companies.
  • These mines pose a threat to local waterways with waste and runoff, as well as a significant safety hazard for local residents.
  • The goal of the program is to cleanup the nation's abandoned coal mines in the next 25 years, almost twice as quickly as the former program.