The Department of Interior last week announced an investment of $240.4 million for infrastructure repairs in fiscal year 2022 from the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act (IIJA), also referred to as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, signed into law by President Biden last November.
“The Bureau of Reclamation, in partnership with states and local water districts receiving municipal water and irrigation water from federally-owned projects, is responsible for much of the water infrastructure in the West,” said Acting Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner David Palumbo. “These water systems work because of this federal to non-federal partnership, and this funding will help to complete necessary extraordinary maintenance keeping projects viable and partnerships strong.”
Importantly, the IIJA aligns with the solutions advanced by a Western water coalition in 2021 that included more than 230 organizations from 15 states that collectively represent nearly one-third of all agricultural production in the country, and many of the local and regional public water agencies that supply water to more than 75 million urban, suburban, and rural residents.
The coalition was led by a steering committee that included the Family Farm Alliance, Association of California Water Agencies, California Farm Bureau, National Water Resources Association and Western Growers.
Public Law 116-260 (December 2020) created a revolving fund called the Aging Infrastructure Account.
“The authorization for an aging infrastructure account at the U.S. Treasury Department is a game-changer for most transferred work operators and reserved work project beneficiaries in the Reclamation system,” said Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen. “With this authority in place, we are now seeing ‘once-in-a-generation’ funding to back it.”
The program, facilitated through the Bureau of Reclamation, includes significant repairs on canal linings, dam spillways and water pipeline replacements.
The IIJA makes one of the largest investments in drought resilience in American history, including $8.3 billion for water infrastructure programs and $1.4 billion for ecosystem restoration and resilience, dramatically expanding Reclamation’s ability to use existing program authorities to serve communities through infrastructure improvements that fundamentally impact their quality of life.
The projects selected for funding last week are found in all the major river basins and regions where Reclamation operates. Among the 46 projects selected for funding are large projects to conduct canal repairs in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada and Wyoming, dam spillway repairs in Nebraska, pipeline repairs in Utah and investments in a pumping plant in Montana. Projects in Colorado, Oregon and Washington are also being funded. The 46 projects to be funded can be viewed here.
Reclamation concluded the initial application period for these funds on January 31, 2022. The second application period for extraordinary maintenance funding is planned for October 2022.
Detailed information on Reclamation programs and funding provided in the IIJA is available at https://www.usbr.gov/bil/.