California's Delta–Mendota Canal

DOI to spend $520 million on water systems, drought resilience

May 20, 2024

The Department of the Interior is making more than $520 million available to revitalize aging water delivery infrastructure and increase drought resilience in the western United States.

The funding will support 57 projects across six regions served by the Bureau of Reclamation to improve water conveyance and storage, increase safety, improve hydropower generation, and provide water treatment.

Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis made the announcement while visiting the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico, where five projects received a total of $14.7 million for aging infrastructure.

More than $10 million is for a realignment project of the Rio Grande channel to improve water conveyance, critical habitat and sedimentation control in an area south of Albuquerque near the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, the DOI said. 

“These investments in our aging water infrastructure will conserve community water supplies and revitalize water delivery systems building reliability and sustainability for generations to come,” Daniel-Davis said.

Projects also include:

  • $50 million to finalize a planning study and, potentially, design and implementation after to correct for groundwater subsidence impacts to the Delta Mendota Canal in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
  • $34.1 million for a planning study and construction of a water treatment plant and deconstructing the old water treatment plant at the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel in Leadville, Colorado.
  • $32.5 million to continue work on a planning study and environmental compliance efforts associated with replacement of the highway portion of the Pit River Bridge in Shasta County, California.

The news followed the DOI’s announcement of a $60 million investment for water conservation and drought resilience in the Rio Grande Basin. The funds will help communities below Elephant Butte Reservoir and into West Texas.

The $60 million will help efforts to increase storage at existing sediment dams and new off-channel storage to capture stormwater, the DOI said. The water will be used to recharge the aquifer, reduce irrigation demands and improve and create riparian wildlife habitat for threatened and endangered species like the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and Southwest Willow Flycatcher.

Other projects will improve irrigation infrastructure efficiency.

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation will invest 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, the DOI said.

Photo: Paul Hames / 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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