U.S. to invest $1 billion in western water infrastructure

The Department of the Interior said April 15 that the Bureau of Reclamation will invest $1 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in U.S. water infrastructure.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar made the announcement at a news conference with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and members of the California congressional delegation. Of the $1 billion to be invested from the economic stimulus bill passed by Congress, $260 million will go to projects in California that will expand water supplies, repair aging water infrastructure, and mitigate the effects of drought. (HNN 2/24/09)

�President Obama’s economic recovery plan will not only create jobs on basic water infrastructure projects, but it will help address both the short- and long-term water supply challenges the Golden State is facing,� Salazar said. �From boosting water supplies and improving conservation to improving safety at our dams, these shovel-ready projects will make a real and immediate difference in the lives of farmers, businesses, Native American tribes, and communities across California.�

More than 30 BuRec water infrastructure projects will be funded in California, including: $22.3 million to address dam safety concerns at the high-risk 198.72-MW Folsom Dam near Sacramento (HNN 2/2/09) and $26 million for Battle Creek Salmon-Steelhead Restoration project. (HNN 1/27/09)

Another $4 million was allotted to broaden scientific knowledge of Klamath River sedimentation for management decision-making that could lead to removal of four dams of the 161.338-MW Klamath River hydroelectric project in Oregon and California. (HNN 12/19/08)

Interior provided a breakdown of amounts from the $1 billion going to various programs: meeting future water supply needs, $450 million; improving infrastructure reliability and safety, $165 million; environmental and ecosystem restoration, $235 million; water conservation initiative (challenge grants), $40 million; green buildings, $14 million; delivering water from the Colorado River to central Utah, $50 million; emergency drought relief in the West, primarily in California, $40 million.

It also identified amounts going to each BuRec Region: Mid-Pacific, California, $260 million; Great Plains, $200 million; Lower Colorado, $101 million; Pacific Northwest, $94.6 million; and Upper Colorado, $28.3 million.

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