Dec 10, 2021 | Blog

Latest On Infrastructure 12.10.21


In the short time since President Biden signed the bipartisan infrastructure package, Alliance members have been in the news highlighting water infrastructure projects in their regions. The Alliance helped lead the coalition advocacy effort through a dedicated lobbying strategy and also by working with individual Western state interests to engage media outlets throughout the country.
Urban Eberhart | The William D. Ruckelshaus Center | Washington State University“It is hard to describe how big and transformative the passage of this Infrastructure legislation is for our future,” said Urban Eberhart (pictured here), the general manager of Kittitas Reclamation District (WASHINGTON) and a member of the Family Farm Alliance Advisory Committee. “We are of course elated as a result of our success in Congress. We are looking forward to tooling up to be successful in this rare opportunity that will take decades before anything like it will come around again. This shows that all the politics and those airplane miles, freeway miles, ZOOM meetings and planning sessions are all worth the time invested.”
We are encouraged not only by passage of the bill but to also see continued media coverage on this top priority for Western agriculture. We believe an educated public is essential for future efforts to protect and preserve Western water. More stories like these will continue to help strengthen our message to protect water for Western irrigated agriculture.We’ll continue to scour the daily news for these stories, and we encourage you to share any articles or commentary you find that we might have missed.

Klamath Basin Infrastructure Project Funding

A Canal Fish Screen, an $11.5 million project in the area from Upper Klamath Lake. Click here for USBR photo source.

The Klamath Falls (OREGON) Herald and News covers in impressive detail the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with emphasis on the hefty $162 million included for Klamath Basin restoration activities. In the story, Alliance executive director Dan Keppen says, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single line-item go to Klamath for this amount of money,” adding that the bill didn’t offer many other location-targeted funding projects. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) was instrumental in securing those dollars. The article quotes sources who speculate how the money will be distributed among the many needs in the area.

Read Full Article

Oregon Public Radio Highlights Klamath Funding

NPR affiliate Oregon Public Broadcasting ties infrastructure coverage to the extreme drought affecting the Klamath Basin’s economy and environment. Dan Keppen and Oregon director of Trout Limited Chrysten Rivard return to “Think Out Loud” after appearing last summer to share details about the “unprecedented” federal money dedicated to this area. The implementation phase will be key, Keppen says, to ensure funds are allocated to the highest priorities across the West.

Listen to OPB Story

Oregon Piping Project Funding Possible

A 22-mile long canal carrying irrigation water from Bend to Redmond, Oregon could be improved with installation of new pipe, should infrastructure funds be approved for the project. Alliance member Craig Horrell, general manager of the Central Oregon Irrigation District, says work could begin next year if funds become available. Horrell discusses the current piping project covering an almost 8 mile section of the Pilot Butte Canal that could save 30 cubic feet per second (cfs). The additional stretch would save 156 cfs.

Read Story

Valley Water Statement: “Push Forward With Projects”

The benefits to California’s Santa Clara County residents, businesses and agriculture are “significant” to Valley Water Chair Tony Estremera. Valley Water is part of the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority, an Alliance member. Tony shares in this statement how funding can be used for important projects to his region.

Valley Water Statement

California Farm Water Coalition Speaks Out on Water Infrastructure

Finally, we share with you this comment from executive director Mike Wade of the California Farm Water Coalition, who penned a brief though impactful guest commentary in CalMatters on the need for, and benefits of, a comprehensive approach to water infrastructure that includes agriculture.

“There are ways to provide the water needed for farms, people and the environment, and that means spending dedicated dollars on updating our water infrastructure,” says Mr. Wade.

Read Commentary

We will continue to keep you informed on this and other developments impacting Western irrigated agriculture.
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