The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) is awarding $15.4 million to water projects in the West to assist with preparing for, and responding to, drought. The funding, awarded through the Bureau’s WaterSMART Drought Response Program, will leverage $54.9 million in non-federal cost-shares to complete the projects in seven Western states.
In its recent report, Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report, Reclamation found that the duration, severity and frequency of droughts are projected to increase in the future and further strain the many competing demands for water in the West.
To build long-term resiliency to drought, Reclamation’s Drought Response Program provides assistance to water managers to develop and update comprehensive drought plans, and to implement projects that modernize existing infrastructure. It supports President Biden’s new Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad as it increases resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Reclamation notes that, “The American West faces serious water challenges. Wide-spread drought, increased populations, aging infrastructure, and environmental requirements all strain existing water and hydropower resources,” and cautions that, “Adequate and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy, and security of the country.”
“More than 50 percent of the Western United States is in a severe drought or worse,” said Reclamation’s Chief Engineer David Raff. “The projects selected will help communities prepare for the increased risk of a drought by increasing the reliability of water supplies and improving water management.”
A total of 18 projects throughout Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota and Utah were selected for funding. California was allotted the bulk of the funding for a total of ten projects. Of the ten California projects, six are in Southern California:
- City of Long Beach – $1,500,000
- City of Santa Barbara – $1,500,000
- Southern San Joaquin Municipal Utility District in Kern County – $1,500,000
- Arvin-Edison Water Storage District in Kern County – $500,000
- Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District in Kern County – $500,000
- East Orange County Water District – $500,000
Source: CA Water News