Description – Western water projects in infrastructure agreement

Page, Colorado River near Arizona. (Shutterstock)

August 15, 2021

Suman Naishadham Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The $ 1 trillion in infrastructure bill approved by the Senate provides funding for Western water projects that farmers, water suppliers and environmentalists say are most important in the arid region.

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The Senate this week voted in favor of legislation seeking to rebuild American roads and highways, improve broadband Internet access, and modernize plumbing and public works. The future of the council is uncertain.

In the wake of a decades-long drought that has hampered water supply, the West Bank is receiving federal funding.

Here are some ways in which water projects can bring $ 8.3 billion relief in the coming years.


The plan provides $ 1.15 billion to upgrade water storage and transportation infrastructure such as dams and canals. Groundwater storage projects that fill non-evaporative groundwater reservoirs are also funded. For years, during the dry years, Western states flooded wells and caused landslides in parts of California.

He said California needs to do more to conserve and expand water use to maintain adequate water during the dry years.

Water adjustment

$ 1 billion will be used to expand existing water supplies to projects for household and industrial recycling. Many states and cities already have or are developing programs for recycling and sewerage. The U.S. Office of Rehabilitation, which manages water, dams and reservoirs in 17 western states, determines which projects are funded.

The farmer’s plan

Prolonged drought, burning temperatures and climate change are draining the Colorado River, which provides water and farmland to 40 million people in the West. The draft will provide $ 300 million for conservation and storage projects such as drought measures to maintain water levels in the river reservoirs and prevent further water shortages.

An announcement of the first shortage in the river is expected next week. Some Arizona farmers will be among those who feel the results next year.


The bill will add $ 250 billion to research and projects to use seawater and brake water for agricultural, industrial and municipal use. Salt factories filter ocean water by filtering out clean water and leaving the salt water that often returns to the ocean. The technology is expensive but is being seen as an important way to meet water supplies in drought-prone areas.

Dam safety

It will provide $ 800 million in funding for drinking water, irrigation, flood control and hydroelectric dams. According to state and federal agencies, many dams across the United States are in poor condition. A.D. Damage to the Oroville Dam in California in 2017 triggered evacuation orders for some 200,000 people. Feinstein’s office recently said that California alone has 89 dams that are “unsatisfactory.”

Rural water

Older water treatment plants and infrastructure often provide an additional $ 1 billion for water projects in rural areas that need maintenance.

Farmers, ranchers and irrigation districts, which are run by the Family Agricultural Alliance, say water projects supported by the infrastructure plan could have an impact on the West.

“It’s all about the above and that’s what is needed,” he said.


AP reporter Matthew Daly contributes from Washington.


The Associated Press receives funding from the Walton Family Foundation for water and environmental policy coverage. A.P. Only responsible for all content. Visit for all AP environmental coverage

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