On Wednesday(April 5, 2023), the Interior Department announced that the Biden administration would allocate $585 million for water projects in 11 Western states. Over $6 million will fix up three sections of Idaho’s water infrastructure.
As a result of the bipartisan infrastructure bill of 2021, $83.0 million will be allocated to 83 different projects in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, North Dakota, California, and Washington. The legislation allocated $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure improvements.
Government Support for Water Systems Finance
On Wednesday(April 5, 2023), administration officials told reporters over the phone that the money was part of a government-wide effort to react to severe drought conditions that have increased the number of wildfires in Western states and jeopardized future drinking and agricultural water supplies.
Interior Deputy Secretary Thomas Beaudreau states, “The 23-year drought has resulted in dangerously low reservoir conditions in the Colorado River Basin and throughout the West, burdening our people, our farms, our animals and their ecosystems, and our very livelihoods.” We can fix our water treatment plants, reservoirs, and hydroelectric plants with this money.
Idaho’s water projects
Black Canyon Diversion Dam
Project: Fix the hydro pump’s coating system, severely pitted spots, and worn rivets.
Lake Cascade State Park
Funding: $2 million
Project: Restoration of the A5 Crown Point Railway to ADA, 504, and public safety standards under Boise Project Action 6350.
New York Canal
Funding: $4 million
Project: Huesker lining should be installed throughout the six miles of the New York Canal between the Boise Avenue and Orchard Street crossing to reduce water loss from seepage and increase safety in areas where the canal runs through a built-up region.
The declaration came on the same day that administration officials visited the Imperial Dam on the Colorado River on the Arizona-California border, highlighting the importance of protecting this water source for 40 million people.
“We’ll use every available resource and tool at the federal level to protect the Colorado River system and the critical services it provides millions of people in countless ecosystems,” Beaudreau said.
Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Camille Calimlim Touton noted that the projects were located in every central river system in the West and were picked by the Bureau of Reclamation, which administers water resources in Western states. There are 24 California projects and 27 in North Dakota on the list. Six projects were chosen in no other form.
California received over half of the grant, totaling $307.8 million. There will be an influx of $80.2 million to North Dakota. The third-highest amount, $68.3 million, will go to projects in Colorado. California’s Trinity River Hatchery renovation is the most significant single project at $66 million.
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A water treatment plant and chemical storage building in the Leadville, Colorado, mine drainage tunnel will get $56 million to complete “planning, design, and subsequent construction.” This is one of the most expensive projects chosen.
Heavy metals contaminate groundwater that flows to the source of the Arkansas River from surrounding mines due to the presence of this tunnel. You may see the whole catalog of projects here.