Federal funding awarded to safeguard water supplies

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The Department of the Interior announced on July 5 a $36.1 million investment to safeguard local water supplies in the wake of record drought across the West. The investment includes $26.7 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds.

The Department said that 27 projects in twelve states and Puerto Rico will be awarded funding to advance quantifiable and sustained water savings by protecting watersheds impacted by wildland fire, restoring aquatic habitats and stream beds, and advancing other environmental restoration projects to mitigate drought-related impacts. This is the first time that such funding was awarded in Puerto Rico. The investments will be leveraged through partnerships with local communities to address regional water challenges, including projects to address damage left by the Caldor Fire in California and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. These funds follow a $25.5 million investment announced last month allocated for 14 water efficiency projects across eight western states.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is advancing locally-led initiatives to address severe and historic western drought,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “Through the Water Smart program funded under this law, we are addressing a variety of regional challenges to increase water reliability and accessibility for families, farmers and Tribes. Today’s investment will conserve water, restore riparian habitat and stream function, and improve watershed health to benefit local supplies and the surrounding environment.”

By state, award recipients include:

Arizona

  • Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, $560,250 for the Roosevelt Watershed Protection and Forest Thinning Project

California

  • Marin Municipal Water District, $1,400,000 for the Lagunitas Creek Stream Channel Restoration Project
  • San Bernadino Valley Municipal Water District, $2,000,000 for the Anza Creek Aquatic and Riparian Habitat Restoration Project
  • Resource Conservation District of Monterey County, $1,479,262 for the Salinas River Arundo Eradication Project Phase V
  • El Dorado County Water Agency, $1,875,000 for the Post Caldor Fire Watershed Restoration for Securing Water Supply for the Grizzly Flats Community

Colorado

  • The Nature Conservancy, $1,920,900 for Modernization of the Maybell Irrigation District’s Diversion from the Yampa River in Colorado
  • Trout Unlimited, $375,000 for the Pagosa Gateway Project

Hawaii

  • State of Hawai’i DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, $996,487 for Protecting Forests for Water Supply Sustainability in Kohala Hawaii Phase 1
  • State of Hawai’i DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, $931,783 for Protecting Forests for Water Supply Sustainability in Kohala Hawaii Phase 2

Idaho

  • Friends of the Teton River, Inc., $2,000,000 for Reconnecting Canyon Creek
  • Board of Control for Triangle Irrigation and Wood River, $629,000 for Board of Control Diversion 45 Stabilization and Fish Passage Remediation
  • The Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation, $1,999,711 for Battle Creek Ecological Restoration at Sowo Gahni

Montana

  • Sun River Watershed, $1,769,323 for Muddy Creek Restoration and Resilience Project Phase I

Nevada

  • Southern Nevada Water Authority, $900,500 for Las Vegas Wash Riparian Restoration Project

Oregon

  • Rogue Valley Council of Governments, $784,151 for Bear Creek Fish Passage Barriers Removal
  • East Fork Irrigation District, $2,000,000 for the Oanna & Yasui Sublateral Efficiency Project
  • Curry Watersheds Nonprofit, $268,789 for Sixes Riverbank Restoration and Estuary Enhancement

Puerto Rico

  • Protectores de Cuencas Inc, $509,694 for Accelerating Recovery and Increasing Resiliency of Coastal Wetlands in Punta Tuna Natural Reserve in Maunabo Puerto Rico

Texas

  • Cameron County Water Improvement District No. 10, $1,500,000 for Pipeline Improvements and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge Water Management Improvements

Utah

  • Cache Water District, $2,000,000 for the Lower Logan River Trapper Park River Restoration Project
  • Trout Unlimited, $1,864,032 for the Weber River Ecological Resiliency Project
  • Trout Unlimited, $900,798 for Paris Creek Hydropower Decommissioning and Instream Flow Restoration

Washington

  • Kittitas Reclamation District, $2,000,000 for South Branch Piping
  • Clallam Conservation District, $1,535,937 for Irrigation Efficiency and Improvement Project
  • Clallam County, $1,813,275 for the Dungeness Reservoir Irrigation Conveyance Improvement Project

Wyoming

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department,$100,000 for New Fork River Gas Wells River Restoration and Fish Habitat Improvement
  • Deaver Irrigation District, $2,000,000 for the D52 Lateral Piping and Shoshone River Sediment Reduction Project

“Adequate and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy and security of the country. By restoring ecosystems and improving the health of rivers and watersheds, we can provide more local communities reliable access to water,” said Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “These grants invest in water management projects that will directly benefit plant and animal species, fish and wildlife habitat and ecosystems.”

Overall, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests $8.3 billion to address water and drought challenges for the nation’s western water and power infrastructure by repairing aging water delivery systems, securing dams, completing rural water projects, protecting aquatic ecosystems and fulfilling Indian Water Rights Settlements.

The funding is part of the $160 million in WaterSMART grants provided by the Law in 2022. Local governments in states set to receive funding must complete their project within three years. Through a 25 percent cost-share, a total of $56.2 million in federal and non-federal investments will be leveraged to support selected projects. The WaterSMART Program focuses on collaborative efforts to plan and implement actions to increase water supply sustainability, including investments to modernize infrastructure.

 

Deborah

Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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