WASHINGTON, D.C.—October 21, 2013—National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) President Earl Garber recently sent a letter to House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Hastings, Ranking Member DeFazio, Subcommittee on Water and Power Chairman McClintock, and Ranking Member Napolitano in support of the bipartisan Water Rights Protection Act, H.R. 3189.
H.R. 3189 would prevent federal agencies from requiring public-lands users to turn over water rights as a condition of issuing or renewing permits, thus securing water rights for those that have paid for them while providing stakeholders the stability they need to appropriately plan for and manage natural resources at the local level.
"Not only is compelling individuals to relinquish water rights for permits unfair to those who have paid to use their water permits, the required waiver of water rights to the federal government overlooks state laws concerning water rights transfer and ownership as well as Constitutional takings issues," Garber said.
Across the United States, nearly 3,000 conservation districts—almost one in every county—are helping local people to conserve natural resources, including water.
"Stakeholders ranging from individual ranchers and farmers to municipalities rely on private water rights to provide drinking water, provide agricultural water, run their operations, and secure loans," Garber continued. "The loss of these water rights would take away their ability to address local water concerns and plan ahead to meet their specific long-term water needs."
H.R. 3189 was introduced last month by Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water and Power.