November 1, 2023 — As a commitment to the Investing in America agenda, the Department of the Interior announced on Monday a $65 million allocation for rural water projects set for the fiscal year 2024. Focusing specifically on New Mexico, the state is poised to benefit from a total of $17 million for two key water projects.
Key Projects in New Mexico.
- Eastern New Mexico Rural Water System: This project will obtain $7 million in 2024 to continue developing the Raw Water Pipeline No. 1. The purpose of this pipeline is to transport a vital water supply from Ute Reservoir to roughly 70,000 residents in the area. This region’s inhabitants are currently facing challenges due to a swiftly depleting aquifer.
- Jicarilla Apache Rural Water System: As this project nears its completion, an additional $10 million has been designated to aid in the design and final construction phases of the remaining components.
Both projects align with the broader mission of ensuring clean, reliable water supplies to rural communities. These initiatives not only promise to deliver essential water resources but also bolster the region’s resilience against the impacts of drought and climate change.
Investing in America’s Rural Water.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland emphasized the importance of water for families, agriculture, and wildlife, and acknowledged the struggles many rural communities face in accessing clean and consistent water supplies. The broader goal, as stated by the Biden-Harris administration, is not only to address the immediate impacts of drought but to devise a sustainable plan promoting both conservation and economic growth.
Echoing this sentiment, Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton asserted the Bureau of Reclamation’s dedication to such projects. Their focus lies in leveraging funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to hasten the realization of these projects.
Through initiatives such as the Investing in America agenda, the nation witnesses its largest investment in climate resilience. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allows for a substantial $8.3 billion investment over a span of five years. This fund aims at enhancing the resilience of water infrastructure projects, including but not limited to rural water, water storage, and conveyance.
The investment in New Mexico’s rural water projects is a part of a wider effort to strengthen America’s rural communities. Ensuring access to clean, reliable water is pivotal for the well-being and sustainability of these areas.