This map depicts where there is a greater than 50% chance of drought persistence, development, or improvement based on short- and long-range statistical and dynamical forecasts during March 16 through June 30, 2023. (Image credit: NOAA)

Biden-Harris Administration Delivers $147 Million from Investing in America Agenda for Drought Resiliency & Water Supply Reliability Across the West

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DURANGO, Colorado — The Department of the Interior today announced a $147.6 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help communities prepare and respond to water reliability challenges due to drought and other water scarcity concerns. The funding will support 42 projects in ten states.

“As communities across the West continue to face the impacts of ongoing drought, the Biden-Harris administration is making record investments to safeguard local water supplies and build climate resilience now and into the future,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “By working together in close coordination with states, Tribes and other stakeholders, we can provide much needed relief for communities across the West that will have a lasting impact for generations.”

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, joined by Senator Michael Bennet, made the announcement during a visit with the Southern Ute Tribe in southwestern Colorado. The Tribe is being awarded a $2.3 million grant as part of today’s announcement to upgrade their water system to provide reliable water levels during various water flow periods. This will allow the Southern Ute Tribe to divert its full allocation of water during times of lower flows.

“With new resources provided through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are investing in locally led projects to help build drought resilience,” said Commissioner Touton. “These projects focus on improving water management strategies, infrastructure and efficiency to mitigate the impacts of drought on communities, agriculture and ecosystems.”

The funding announced today comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Inflation Reduction Act and annual appropriations. Awards will support projects that build new infrastructure or upgrade existing infrastructure, recharge aquifers, advance water recycling and treatment, and strengthen innovative technologies to address water scarcity challenges for water users. For a portion of the projects, Reclamation is using funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to help reduce the cost-share for domestic water supplies projects that support disadvantaged communities. The selected projects will help bring clean, reliable drinking water to communities through investments in domestic water supply systems for communities that do not have reliable access to domestic water supplies.

President Biden’s Investing in America agenda represents the largest investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history and is providing much-needed resources to enhance Western communities’ resilience to drought and climate change. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including rural water, water storage, conservation and conveyance, nature-based solutions, dam safety, water purification and reuse, and desalination. Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed in November 2021, Reclamation has announced almost $3 billion for 440 projects.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes $4 billion in funding specifically for water management and conservation efforts in the Colorado River Basin and other areas experiencing similar levels of long-term drought. To date, Reclamation has announced 202 system conservation agreements under the Inflation Reduction Act for an estimated 1.7 million acre-feet of Colorado River system conservation through 2026, totaling $716 million.

Press release U.S. Department of Interior

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