The first action of the WUWC was to participate actively in shaping the "Miller-Bradley Bill" also called the Reclamation Projects Authorization and Adjustment Act of 1992. The Miller-Bradley Act was one of the largest western water project authorization bills in years as well as one of the most significant water policy measures passed by Congress in many years.
WUWC members participated in shaping and supporting the legislation, which provided authorization for many Bureau of Reclamation projects in the West and included reforms in the financial, environmental and management standards that applied to the projects. WUWC played a key role in getting this bill signed into law when significant efforts were made to have it vetoed.
Endangered Species Act
Over its 10-year history, there is no issue on which the Coalition has been more active than the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Coalition supports the ESA and has favored both its thoughtful administration as well as the reasonable modification of the statute. WUWC strongly supports the environmental objectives of the ESA as a sound resource management tool.
WUWC members have testified before Congress on ESA reform, and WUWC has consistently been recognized as one of the leading players on ESA reform. WUWC efforts in legislative reform have helped prove that the ESA can be reformed from a middle-ground perspective. Administratively, the WUWC was one of the first major associations to support the "No Surprises" policy, and the Clinton Administration’s “five point” policy of administrative reform aimed to encouraging landowner and stakeholder participation. The WUWC also was at the front of the Bush Administration’s cooperative conservative policy, and has one of the leading advocates of a more flexible and effective ESA program as championed under President Obama. The WUWC actively participated in litigation to protect the effective implementation of ESA objectives. Many WUWC members are leading advocates of larger scale and ecosystem-based habitat conservation plans, safe harbor agreements, candidate conservation agreements, and similar tools.
The Colorado River
The Colorado River is one of the most controlled and litigated rivers in the world. Several states and Mexico share the river water, which serves more than 25 million people. WUWC advocates long-term solutions to Colorado River issues. These solutions focus on resolution of issues in the entire basin rather than the isolated single issues that arise from interstate compacts alone. WUWC members work through their agencies and their states to facilitate these agreements.
The Coalition also was active on Salton Sea legislation, development of the Interim Surplus Guidelines, the Nevada-Arizona water banking agreement, habitat conservation plans on the River, the relationship of River management to the Mexican Delta, and the implementation of the California Plan, which reduces California's reliance on surplus Colorado River water.
Clean Water Act / Safe Drinking Water Act
WUWC has played a supportive role to organizations focusing on environmental issues under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Coalition supported legislation to amend the Clean Water Act to recognize the unique conditions in the arid West as they affect water supply. Most recently, the WUWC has been active, both in the courts and working with EPA and the Corps of Engineers, to create a fair and workable balance in the regulation of water transfers under the Clean Water Act. The Coalition is very active in CWA rulemakings.
Water Conservation and Reuse
In addition to supporting water conservation and recycling initiatives, the Coalition actively supports other organizations to oppose persistent legislative proposals to eliminate federal rules which support water efficient plumbing fixtures. This opposition has been successful in stopping the legislation and preserving conservation programs at WUWC agencies.
Implications of Climate Change
The WUWC is a leader in taking proactive measures to carry out water management policies and practices that address the implications of climate change and warming trends on Western water resources, with an emphasis on adaptation and improving federal regulations to recognize the realities of Western water resources in an era of climate change. In addition, the WUWC is very active in water conservation, re-use and new technologies. The WUWC is actively involved in comprehensive climate change legislation being considered in Congress, and in agency planning and regulatory action.