Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has signed a Secretarial order establishing a new water sustainability strategy for the United States. The Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Initiative stands for "Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow." As part of his order, the Department will increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental uses in the western United States by 350,000 acre-feet by 2012.
In making the announcement, Secretary Salazar said that the federal government's existing water policies and programs simply aren't built for 21st century pressures on water supplies. He mentioned pressures such as population growth; climate change; rising energy demands; environmental needs; aging infrastructure; and risks to drinking water supplies.
The program establishes a national framework to integrate and coordinate water sustainability efforts. Criteria that the Department applies to identify and support energy projects and actions that promote sustainable water strategies. And a water footprint reduction program to reduce overall consumption of potable water by 26% by 2020 and industrial, landscaping, and agricultural water by 20% by 2020.
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