The Department of the Interior announced up to $328 million in funding opportunities available through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to help communities address impacts of climate change through water recycling, water storage and desalination projects. The funds come primarily from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s WaterSMART and Small Storage programs, as well as through annual appropriations, and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act.
President Biden’s Investing in America agenda represents the largest investment in climate resilience in the nation’s history and is providing much-needed resources to enhance Western communities’ resilience to drought and climate change, including protecting the short- and long-term sustainability of the Colorado River System. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including water purification and reuse, water storage and conveyance, desalination and dam safety. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing an additional $4.6 billion to address the historic drought.
“In the wake of severe drought conditions throughout the West, the Department is bringing every tool and resource to bear — including significant investments through President Biden’s Investing America agenda — to help build community resilience to drought and climate change for generations to come,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through today’s funding, we are partnering with local communities to advance innovative solutions for water conservation and expand local water storage supplies.”
Reclamation is implementing an overall $1 billion investment for WaterSMART grants and $100 million for Small Storage Program grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
“Through President Biden’s historic investments in climate resilience, Reclamation is offering a variety of opportunities to assist communities and irrigation districts in fully utilizing their current water supplies and tapping into potential new supplies,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “As we work with our stakeholders to address impacts of climate change, these projects will diversify water portfolios and help provide flexibility.”
Reclamation is implementing an overall $1 billion investment for WaterSMART grants and $100 million for Small Storage Program grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide financial assistance to water managers to help conserve and use water more efficiently, implement renewable energy projects, investigate and develop water marketing strategies, mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict, and accomplish other benefits that contribute to sustainability in the Western United States.
These programs also advance the Justice40 Initiative, part of the Biden-Harris administration’s historic commitment to environmental justice, which aims to ensure 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain climate, clean energy and other federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that have been marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.
As part of today’s announcement, Reclamation is opening three funding opportunities for water recycling and reuse, desalination construction and small water storage projects:
Water Recycling Projects
Through Reclamation’s Title XVI Program, a total of $239 million is available for water reclamation and reuse projects. Reclamation will provide financial assistance to local water agencies for the planning, design, and construction of water reclamation and reuse projects. Water recycling is an important tool used to stretch limited water supplies.
Desalination Construction Projects
Reclamation is making up to $64 million available for desalination construction projects. Desalination projects develop and supplement municipal and irrigation water supplies through the treatment of ocean or brackish water, thereby providing a local supply, providing flexibility during water shortages, and diversifying the water supply. These projects provide growing communities with new sources of clean water and increase water management flexibility, making water supplies more reliable.
Small Water Storage Projects
Reclamation is making up to $25 million available for small surface water and groundwater storage projects in the 17 Western states, Hawaii and Alaska. Surface water and groundwater storage projects are essential tools in stretching the limited water supplies caused by a changing climate. Funding is available for projects with a water storage capacity between 200 and 30,000 acre-feet that increase surface water or groundwater storage.