The U.S. House of Representatives fiscal year 2015 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill provides funding to begin implementation of a National Ground Water Monitoring Network (NGWMN).
The full House Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider the bill on July 15. This bill and other funding measures face additional hurdles between now and any final action.
“NGWA thanks the Subcommittee for its leadership in moving the network forward,” stated NGWA Government Affairs Director Chris Reimer upon learning of the House Subcommittee’s action.
Groundwater currently provides nearly half the nation’s drinking water and more than 40% of irrigation water, rising to even higher levels during drought. However, efforts to monitor this valuable, hidden resource currently fall short. An understanding of the groundwater’s status and trends is inhibited by a lack of national coverage, inadequate periods of record, and inconsistency in measurement frequency, according to a government report.
Envisioned as a cooperative venture among federal agencies, states, regional water authorities, and tribes, the NGWMN would function as an integrated system of data collection and reporting and would provide the necessary data to more accurately monitor the nation’s groundwater resources.
“NGWA and its member professionals stand ready to work with policymakers and others to address current and future water supply needs,” Reimer added. “Ensuring access to adequate data will be critical to that effort.”