President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 signed an executive order creating a subcabinet on water-related issues, which will coordinate and consolidate the vast federal bureaucracy overseeing water infrastructure and resource management.
The order creates an interagency Water Subcabinet co-chaired by the secretary of the Interior and the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The subcabinet is tasked with identifying the hundreds of federal water-related task forces, working groups, and initiatives and, in 90 days, providing recommendations for coordinating and consolidating the sprawling bureaucracy.
“Abundant, safe, and reliable supplies of water are critical to quality of life for all Americans, fueling our economy, providing food for our citizens and the world, generating energy, protecting public health, supporting rich and diverse wildlife and plant species, and affording recreational opportunities,” the order, titled Modernizing America’s Water Resource Management and Water Infrastructure, states.
“While America is blessed with abundant natural resources, those resources must be effectively managed, and our water infrastructure must be modernized to meet the needs of current and future generations.”
The order directs the Water Subcabinet to review and identify the appropriate agencies to lead at least 17 water-related efforts, including increasing water storage, water supply reliability, and drought resilience and improving water quality and source water protection.
The order requires the new subcabinet to deliver an annual update on the progress of the various efforts to the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The order calls on the subcabinet to deliver recommendations in five months on how federal agencies can better coordinate a slew of water infrastructure projects and enhance the recruitment of water professionals.
“Executive departments and agencies that engage in water-related matters, including water storage and supply, water quality and restoration activities, water infrastructure, transportation on our rivers and inland waterways, and water forecasting, must work together where they have joint or overlapping responsibilities,” the document states.
“This order will ensure that agencies do that more efficiently and effectively to improve our country’s water resource management, modernize our water infrastructure, and prioritize the availability of clean, safe, and reliable water supplies.”
Earlier that day, Trump signed an executive order establishing the One Trillion Trees Interagency Council, creating a formal structure for the global effort the president embraced earlier this year to grow and conserve 1 trillion trees worldwide by 2030.
The tree and water orders are part of the president’s drive to ensure Americans have clean air and clean water while doing away with a federal bureaucracy and red tape.