On May 27, the WSWC, together with the Native American Rights Fund (NARF), and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) sent a letter to Congressional committees expressing strong support for construction, operation, and maintenance of critical water infrastructure, particularly in tribal and rural regions of the West. The letter was sent to the Senate Committees on Energy and Natural Resources and Indian Affairs; House Committee on Natural Resources; and Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture and Rural Development, Energy and Water Development, and Interior and Environment.
The letter notes that many existing water infrastructure projects have long been authorized by Congress but lack adequate appropriations to complete construction. Examples include infrastructure projects authorized as part of Indian water rights settlements and rural water projects. The letter also points out that existing programs in multiple federal agencies have been Congressionally authorized “to support drinking water infrastructure for tribal communities, but lack adequate funding and coordinated interagency effort. These neglected projects and programs have contributed to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on tribal communities.”
The letter urges Congress “to prioritize federal funding to meet these urgent needs, especially as Congress is considering potential infrastructure packages.”