U.S. Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) and U.S. Representative Tom Latham (R-Iowa) have each received the 2006 Ground Water Protector Award from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).
The Ground Water Protector Award recognizes people in government, industry and the private sector for their public service in conjunction with ground water conservation, protection and use.
Sen. Domenici is being recognized for his leadership in encouraging the nation to assess its water supply resources by quantifying current water demands and forecasting future water demands, and for developing solutions to meet those demands.
Worldwide, ground water makes up 95% of available freshwater. This makes ground water critically important to the nation’s water supply, said John Christiansen, NGWA Government Affairs Committee chairman.
“We applaud Senator Domenici’s leadership in assessing our water resources and identifying solutions to water needs,” Christiansen said. “This is a public health, quality of life and economic issue of huge proportions. Senator Domenici is helping to focus national attention on water at a crucial time.”
Christiansen noted that the nation is experiencing or facing water shortages in many places, not just in arid regions. Among the factors contributing to these shortages are drought and demographic shifts, he said.
Senator Domenici serves as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Rep. Latham is being recognized for his key support of funding for a federal household water well system financing program.
“For many low-income families who depend on a household water well, this financing program truly will be a lifeline. We are very grateful to Representative Latham for his support and compassion toward those individuals,” Christiansen said. “This program is vital to providing well construction and repair funds to help those who can barely make ends meet.”
The federal program provides low-interest loans to low- to moderate-income persons for the installation or improvement of household water wells. The federal money is disbursed to eligible organizations that, in turn, will provide low-interest loans for terms of up to 20 years.
Some 3.6 million low- to moderate-income households across the country use outmoded water wells, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Rep. Latham, who represents Iowa’s fourth Congressional District, supported the well financing program on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.