U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announces $1.66 billion to renovate crumbling water infrastructure in America’s western states

In January of 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced its plan to invest $1.66 billion of funding included in the bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment and Jobs Act to improve America‘s water infrastructure.

$8.3 billion was included in the bill over the next five years for Western water projects in the bipartisan infrastructure bill, most of which will substantially benefit California.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s plan to invest $1.66 billion is a good blueprint for improving aging water infrastructure in California and throughout the West,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) “These funds will help restore crumbling canals; improve water conservation, recycling and desalination efforts; improve dam safety; and expand water storage throughout California. More importantly, these funds will help us better prepare for the effects of climate change we’re already seeing in our state.”

Water is the lifeblood of California, but climate change is making this valuable resource increasingly scarce. Reclamation’s plan will allow us to more efficiently use that precious resource to ensure we have enough water to meet our state’s needs in the future,” she added.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s plan includes the following priorities:

  • $420 million for rural water projects that benefit various underserved communities by increasing access to potable water.
  • $245 million for WaterSMART Title XVI that supports the planning, design and construction of water recycling and reuse projects.
  • $210 million for construction of water storage, groundwater storage and conveyance project infrastructure.
  • $160 million for WaterSMART Grants to support Reclamation efforts to work cooperatively with states, Tribes and local entities to implement infrastructure investments to increase water supply.
  • $100 million for aging infrastructure for major repairs and rehabilitation of facilities.
  • $100 million for safety of dams to implement safety modifications of critical infrastructure.
  • $50 million to implement the Colorado River Basin drought contingency plans to support the goal of reducing the risk of Lake Mead and Lake Powell reaching critically low water levels.
  • $18 million for WaterSMART’s Cooperative Watershed Management Program for watershed planning and restoration projects for watershed groups.
  • $15 million for Research and Development’s Desalination and Water Purification Program for construction efforts to address ocean or brackish water desalination.
  • $8.5 million for Colorado River Basin Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation Programs.

Photo of river in California by David Mark from Pixabay.

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