Senator Murray: Our Water Resources Are Too Critical to Shortchange or Take for Granted

***WATCH: Senator Murray’s remarks at Appropriations subcommittee hearing***


***WATCH: Senator Murray’s questioning***



Washington, D.C. – Today, at a Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development subcommittee hearing on President Biden’s FY24 budget request for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke about the need to protect and maintain the nation’s ports, waterways, energy infrastructure, and other water resources as well as the importance of responding to the threats posed by climate disasters like droughts, flooding, and more. She also reiterated the importance of passing bipartisan funding bills to do exactly that.


“Defense spending tends to get a lot of a attention but we cannot forget that our rivers and our waterways are some of the most critical resources we have,” said Senator Murray. “Effective water management is essential to keeping our families healthy, our environment thriving, and our economy competitive.”


“We use our water resources managed by the Bureau and Corps to irrigate crops that feed families across the country, to transport those crops—and other goods—along our rivers and out of our ports to consumers around the world, and to provide habitat for keystone species that are essential to local economies and ecosystems alike—like salmon in my home state of Washington,” continued Senator Murray. “We even count on water—and hydroelectric power—to literally keep the lights on in cities across the country. So when it comes to our nation’s competitiveness—this is something we can’t take for granted.”


In her questioning, Senator Murray asked Commissioner Camille Touton of the Bureau of Reclamation about the Bureau’s work to increase water security and resiliency, particularly in light of the challenges facing the Colorado River basin.


“We’re all thankful of course this year for a much needed rain and snow, and as you and I have talked about, one wet season does not counter the driest 23-year period ever recorded in that basin.  We do need long term solutions to effectively manage that water and adjust for the impacts of climate change,” said Senator Murray.


Senator Murray also highlighted the importance of the Columbia River basin to Washington state, and asked Commissioner Touton and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Connor to keep her updated about efforts to negotiate a new agreement with Canada on the Columbia River Treaty.


Senator Murray went on to ask Assistant Secretary Connor about the steps being taken to ensure the Army Corps meets all targets for the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund—which Senator Murray fought to reform in the Water Development Resources Act of 2020.