President Donald Trump issued an executive order Tuesday to formally establish a dedicated committee to address federal water-related issues.
The group will reduce redundancy and strengthen collaboration among various agencies tasked with regulating water infrastructure in the U.S., according to the order.
The Water Subcabinet will be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Interior and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and will include the Secretaries of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, the Army and “the heads of such other agencies as the co-chairs deem appropriate,” the order read.
The order formalizes cooperation between federal agencies that have already been working together in an informal capacity, according to Dan Keppen, executive director of the Family Farm Alliance. That informal working group included Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman and Department of Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tim Petty.
“We are already seeing improved coordination among the multiple federal agencies who have jurisdiction over Western water matters,” Keppen said. “Formally establishing the Water Subcabinet with this executive order should further improve agency coordination and decision-making, necessary components to managing Western water resources and modernizing our aging water infrastructure.”
In areas around the country served by federal water-related projects, agencies must work together to inform each other’s operations, including water storage, ecosystem restoration and drought forecasting.
“This order will ensure that agencies do that more efficiently and effectively to improve our country’s water resource management, modernize our water infrastructure, and prioritize the availability of clean, safe, and reliable water supplies,” the order read.
Paul Simmons, executive director of Klamath Water Users Association, called the order “good government.”
“It is another step in the Administration’s commitments to streamline processes to reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens while complying with law and, especially, promote the development and use of water infrastructure for its needed purposes,” he said.