CONGRESS Eyes Water Use by ProQuest


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									 24       PRO • Volume 21 Number 6 • Summer 2009 •


                         By Gregg Wartgow

         Eyes Water Use
      As a House bill stressing the need for                                    agency committee that will be           ary and not justifiable, particularly
                                                                                led by the U.S. Department of           in times of short supply,” Farner
      systematic water research makes its                                       Commerce National Oceanic and           says. “We have to look beyond the
      way to the Senate, the irrigation industry                                Atmospheric Administration.             aesthetic benefits and carve out
      stresses the important role of responsible                                    The Irrigation Association has      some quantifiable benefits of
                                                                                taken a keen approach to ensure         healthy plants and turfgrass.
      landscape irrigation.                                                     that legislation dealing with water     Plants are neutral machines that

                                                                                recognizes the benefits of water        prevent erosion, manage storm-
      The U.S. House of                        H.R. 1145, sponsored by          use efficiency, while also promot-      water, sequester carbon, produce
      Representatives recently passed      Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), is          ing efficiencies as part of an over-    oxygen, trap dust and cool their
      H.R. 1145, the National Water        designed to improve the federal      all water management solution.          surroundings. Understanding such
      Research and Development             government’s role in designing       “H.R. 1145 does just that,” says        characteristics should help us cre-
      Initiative Act of 2009. Now, as      and implementing federal water       John Farner, federal affairs direc-     ate a blueprint that reveals some
      the bill moves to the U.S. Senate,   research to address changes in       tor for the Irrigation Association.     critical and optimum water man-
      the Irrigation Association looks     water use, quality, supply and       “We are pleased that the Irrigation     agement scenarios for managing
      to continue playing an active        demand in the United States,         Association could support this leg-     and/or maximizing the benefits of
      role to help ensure that legisla-    which includes providing addi-       islation, as it creates opportunities   healthy plants in the overall envi-
      tion dealing with water recog-       tional support to increase water     for dialogue and collaboration at       ronmental equation.”
      nizes the benefits of water use      supply through greater efficiency,   the top levels of government that
      efficiency, along with the value     conservation and measures to         don’t currently exist.”                 Beyond crisis mode
      that healthy, responsibly irri-      abate water quality impairment.                                               H.R. 1145 has now made its
      gated plants and turfgrass have      This initiative will be adminis-     More science needed                  way to the Senate. Whether it
      on the environment.                  tered by establishing an inter-          That type of dialogue and col- gets to the floor is anyone’s guess.
                                                                                laboration is definitely needed,     But regardless, Farner points out,
                                                                                Farner adds, as is additional sci-   the water debate will continue
                                                                                ence in the arena of landscape       throughout the current Congress.
                                                                                water use. “It will be up to our         Energy/climate change is one
                                                                                industry to stay involved, and to    of the Senate’s top priorities. And
                                                                                develop a wish list that we com-     according to Farner, the land-
                                                                                municate to this (interagency)       scape industry has an opportunity
                                                                                committee. Congress is beginning to advocate for the eco-system
                                                                                to recognize the value of efficient  benefits of responsibly managed
                                                                                irrigation, but science and data a
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