Advisory council recommends preparing for ‘rapidly evolving’ water crisis admin September 1, 2023

Advisory council recommends preparing for ‘rapidly evolving’ water crisis

new report from the President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) advises the Biden administration to develop an investment plan for locks and dams, among several recommendations to address water crises that “threaten the security and resilience of our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

The report said it is important to replace aging locks with larger dual locks on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and to increase national dredging capacity.

In its conclusions, the council also called for the creation of a “Department of Water” and the development of a national water strategy.

NIAC focused on four sectors that depend on water: energy, agriculture, inland waterway transportation, and flood control. Its recommendations to mitigate “cross sector impacts of the evolving water crisis” include investing in reliable infrastructure in U.S. river systems; modernizing and making flood resilient the inland waterways transportation system; and promoting smarter irrigation technology so farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can deal with climate variability.

NIAC is a 30-member panel established in 2001 to advise the president on “practical strategies for industry and government to reduce complex risks to the designated critical infrastructure sectors.” The report is the result of a December 2022 charge from the National Security Council for NIAC to answer the following questions: “How should the U.S. Federal government help critical infrastructure owners and operators prepare for the rapidly evolving water crisis (including the Colorado River Basin) and what actions should we take now to minimize cross-sector impacts?”