Biden administration invests $242 million in Western water infrastructure amid severe drought

(UI) — The Department of the Interior announced a $242 million investment as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, aimed at enhancing water storage and reliability in Western communities.

This funding will support five water storage and conveyance projects in California, Colorado, and Washington, expected to add 1.6 million acre-feet of water storage capacity—enough to support 6.4 million people for a year. Additionally, a feasibility study in Arizona will explore further water storage solutions.

These projects are part of the Biden administration's broader effort to address climate resilience, with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocating $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects. These include rural water, water storage, conservation, conveyance, dam safety, water purification and reuse, and desalination.

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland highlighted the urgent need for these projects due to ongoing drought conditions in the West. "Through these investments, we will expedite essential water storage projects and provide increased water security to Western communities," Haaland said.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton emphasized the importance of these projects for providing reliable drinking and agricultural water, as well as ecosystem benefits.

The projects receiving funding include:


  • Verde Reservoirs Sediment Mitigation Project: $8.5 million for a feasibility study addressing sediment accumulation and water storage capacity at Horseshoe and Bartlett Reservoirs.


  • B.F. Sisk Dam Raise and Reservoir Expansion Project: $75 million to develop 130,000 acre-feet of additional water storage.
  • Sites Reservoir Project: $67.5 million to create up to 1.5 million acre-feet of new water storage on the Sacramento River system.


  • Arkansas Valley Conduit: $90 million for a long-term water supply project to serve 50,000 people in 39 rural communities, replacing contaminated groundwater sources.


  • Cle Elum Pool Raise Project: $1 million to increase the reservoir’s capacity by 14,600 acre-feet for instream flows for fish.

This announcement builds on previous investments, including $152 million announced last year and $210 million in 2022. Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was enacted in November 2021, Reclamation has allocated over $3.5 billion for more than 530 projects.

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