DOI to spend $147.6 million on water reliability projects

May 10, 2024

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is making $147.6 million available to help communities address water reliability challenges. The funds will support 42 projects in 10 states that are struggling with drought and other scarcity-related concerns.

Included are projects that build infrastructure, upgrade existing infrastructure, advance water recycling and treatment, recharge aquifers and strengthen innovative technologies to address water scarcity challenges for water users. The funds come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and annual appropriations.

“These projects focus on improving water management strategies, infrastructure and efficiency to mitigate the impacts of drought on communities, agriculture and ecosystems.” said Calimlim Touton, a commissioner on the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).

For a portion of the projects, BOR will use IRA funds to help reduce the cost-share for domestic water supplies projects that support disadvantaged communities. These 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 those resources.

Awards include:

  • The city of Gallup, New Mexico, will use $9.5 million to build a well that will serve the city, Navajo Nation and other parts of McKinley County. The city currently has no access to surface water supplies.
  • The Arizona Water Company will receive $9.1 million to build groundwater treatment systems to lower arsenic and nitrates below the maximum contaminant level in disadvantaged communities in and around Stanfield, Arizona. The project will provide cleaner water for 640 residents.
  • The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma will receive $7.7 million to connect the community of Connerville to the Johnston County public water system and build three treatment systems in Wapanucka. These communities rely on artesian wells for domestic water supplies which are fed by natural springs, subject to drying during periods of drought.
  • The city of San Buenaventura, California, will leverage $5 million to build a 4.3-mile pipeline connecting the city to the Calleguas Municipal Water District. The connection will help San Buenaventura mitigate the effects of a three-year drought.
  • The Fresno Irrigation District in California’s San Joaquin Valley will use $5 million to build two recharge basins. The basins will capture storm and flood waters to irrigate an area that contains 247,000 acres of agricultural lands.
  • The Southern Ute Tribe in southwestern Colorado will receive $2.3 million to upgrade their water system to improve flow reliability. The improvements will allow the tribe to access their full allocation of water during times of lower flows.

Photo courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources

Miles Smith

Miles Smith has more than two decades of communications experience in the public and private sectors, including several years of covering local governments for various daily and weekly print publications. His scope of work includes handling public relations for large private-sector corporations and managing public-facing communications for local governments.

Smith has recently joined the team as a content writer for SPI’s news publications, which include Texas Government Insider, Government Contracting Pipeline and its newest digital product, Government Market News, which launched in September 2023. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s in journalism.

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