Energy & Environment

Interior announces funding for 46 water infrastructure projects

Joe Biden
FILE – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland speaks during a Tribal Nations Summit during Native American Heritage Month, in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus, on Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington. Haaland on Thursday, May 5, 2022, announced the members of a commission that will craft recommendations on how the federal government can better tackle unsolved cases in which Native Americans and Alaska Natives have gone missing or have been killed. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The Biden administration will allocate funding to improve water infrastructure in 46 projects across 11 states, the Interior Department announced Monday. 

The funding will comprise $240.4 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will incorporate projects such as canal lining repairs and upgrades and replacements to water pipelines. The 46 selected projects include canal repair projects in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming as well as pipeline repairs in Utah and dam spillway repairs in Nebraska, according to the department. 

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making a historic investment in drought resilience and water infrastructure,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “As western communities face growing challenges accessing water in the wake of record drought, these investments in our aging water infrastructure will safeguard community water supplies and revitalize water delivery systems.” 

“The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with states and local water districts receiving municipal water and irrigation water from federally-owned projects, is responsible for much of the water infrastructure in the West,” added acting Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner David Palumbo. “These water systems work because of this federal to non-federal partnership, and this funding will help to complete necessary extraordinary maintenance keeping projects viable and partnerships strong.” 

The infrastructure law puts a total of about $10 billion toward water infrastructure and drought resilience measures.

The announcement comes amid signs of a worsening drought in the American Southwest. In its most recent weekly summary, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more than 98 percent of the region is in some stage of drought. California’s two biggest reservoirs are “critically low,” while in the Colorado River Basin, Lake Powell is under 25 percent capacity and Lake Mead is at 31 percent of capacity. The Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico, part of the Rio Grande Basin, is even lower at 13 percent full, according to the monitor. 

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