In recognition of the 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA, www.nacwa.org) issued a report, “Recommendations for a Viable and Vital 21st Century Clean Water Policy.” The report is the product of NACWA’s Strategic Watershed Task Force, which began its work on the report in the spring. The task force is comprised of NACWA public agency leaders with the mission of investigating how the concept of a “watershed approach” can be successfully implemented to further improve the quality of U.S. waters.
Chris Westhoff, NACWA president and assistant city attorney and public works general counsel for the City of Los Angeles, officially announced the release of the report via his testimony at a hearing before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, titled “The 35th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act: Successes and Future Challenges.”
Westhoff’s testimony outlined the short-term and long-term recommendations for an effective watershed approach detailed in the task force report. The short-term recommendations for an effective watershed approach include:
· Reinvigorate the watershed-based planning process as outlined in Section 208 of the Clean Water Act;
· Pursue new, more aggressive measures and funding to address needed controls on agricultural nonpoint sources; and
· Use a more appropriate sequence for establishing total maximum daily loads (TMDLs).
Long-term recommendations include:
· Establishing a new water quality framework via a 21st century Watershed Act;
· Reorganizing EPA to reflect this new watershed framework; and
· Conducting improved monitoring and research to track the progress being made via a watershed approach.
The full report is available on NACWA’s Web site at www.nacwa.org/images/stories/public/2007-10-18swtfrvv.pdf.