Biden Administration announces new water conservation efforts

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On Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced a nearly $585 million investment for infrastructure repairs on aging water delivery systems throughout the West. Funding will go to 83 projects in 11 states- including Arizona- to improve water conveyance and storage, increase safety, improve hydro power generation and provide water treatment.

Sarah Porter, Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss more on the topic.

“The biggest problem that Arizona faces is not necessarily solvable by infrastructure, but infrastructure helps,” said Porter. “We’re at a point where we need to make sure that we don’t have any leaky pipes or pumps. That we’re moving water as efficiently as possible, that every ditch is lined. So in that sense, this funding is helpful.”

When asked about the status of leaking pipes in Arizona, Porter said, “Arizona is somewhat ahead of the game but there’s really always room for improvement and infrastructure wears out. So, there’s always a need to keep recapitalizing and replacing aging infrastructure.”

Identified Projects?

One of the projects Porter mentioned is the funding of the silt basins in the Imperial Damn located in Yuma.

“That will help. It will make Imperial Damn function better for the uses for which it was built but it doesn’t really help the problem of the challenges we have with Colorado River supplies,” said Porter.

How much time for projects to be completed?

“In terms of when the money gets spent, that’s really gonna be driven by the particular projects,” said Porter.

The projects are said to be up and running, as soon as the funding was granted.

Big announcement regarding water

The State Capitol made an announcement to use another fund that stems from the Inflation Reduction Act that will compensate the Gila River Indian community. This tribe is located in central Arizona and has a substantial allocation of Colorado River water. The funding will leave 125,000 acre feet of water in Lake Mead for at least 2 years, said Porter.

“This matters a lot to Colorado water uses because it helps keep the level of Lake Mead up so that we can keep the system functioning and keep delivering water,” said Porter.

Important to mention, this is in agreement with the tribe.

Sarah Porter

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