Biden-Harris Administration Announces $35 Million from Investing in America Agenda for Small Storage Projects in California and Utah

Small surface and groundwater storage projects receiving funding through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to strengthen existing water supplies and help combat drought in the West


Last edited 03/27/2024

Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2024

TOQUERVILLE, Utah — The Department of the Interior today announced a $35 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for six small surface and groundwater storage projects in California and Utah. The projects, each receiving funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will increase water supply reliability, improve operational flexibility and enhance community and landscape resilience to the effects of climate change.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced the funding while in Toquerville, Utah. She participated in a tour of the construction of Chief Toquer Reservoir in southern Utah, where the Washington County Water Conservancy District’s Ash Creek Project is receiving approximately $7 million to construct a new pipeline to run from the Ash Creek Reservoir to the Chief Toquer Reservoir. At full capacity, the new reservoir will hold 3,638 acre-feet of water, and is expected to provide approximately 1,760 acre-feet annually. The funding announced today builds on $4.7 million announced for the project last year. 

“Water is essential to everything we do: feeding families, growing crops, powering agricultural businesses, sustaining wildlife and safeguarding Tribal subsistence practices,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As the climate crisis drives severe drought conditions and historically low water allocations, it will take all of us working together to safeguard our communities. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, historic new investments are helping us to build local water supplies that will sustain future generations.”  

“Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are working to equip local communities with the infrastructure and resources they need to meet water supply demands and build climate resilience for the future,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “These small surface and groundwater storage projects will boost water storage opportunities and increase resiliency and flexibility for communities in the West.” 

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. Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Reclamation is investing a total of $8.3 billion over five years for water infrastructure projects, including rural water, water storage, conservation and conveyance, nature-based solutions, dam safety, water purification and reuse, and desalination. Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed in November 2021, Reclamation has announced almost $3 billion for 425 projects.  

The Small Storage Program, authorized by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funds projects with a water storage capacity between 200 acre-feet and 30,000 acre-feet. Eligible projects completed and submitted a feasibility study to Reclamation for review. Today’s funding builds upon $20 million announced through the program for projects in 2023.  

Other projects announced today include:   

  • $9.1 Million for Rancho California Water District’s Pauba Valley Groundwater Banking Project (California). During wet years, the project will provide approximately 5,000 acre-feet of excess imported water to recharge the Pauba Valley groundwater subunit. This water will be available for use during dry years to help serve potable water demands in the district, including agricultural demands. Construction will include new recharge basins, conveyance facilities, and four new recovery wells. The project is the final phase of a larger groundwater basin expansion program undertaken by the district to achieve greater local water supply reliability. 
  • $7 Million for Imperial Irrigation District’s Upstream Reservoir Storage Project (California). The Upstream Operational Reservoir Storage Project is aimed at maximizing Imperial Irrigation District’s water management efficiency within the Imperial Valley. The project has a storage capacity of 2,100 acre-feet and is projected to conserve 15,000 acre-feet per year for in-valley use.  
  • $6.7 Million for San Benito County Water District's Accelerated Drought Response Project (California). The project will provide injection and storage of up to 2,700 acre-feet per year of treated Central Valley Project water. In wet years, this is estimated to save an average of 1,035 acre-feet per year of stored water. The project will support up to five aquifer storage and recovery wells, expand the West Hills Water Treatment Plant and construct pipelines to convey water between the wells, water treatment plant, the Sunnyslope County Water District, and Hollister and San Juan Bautista, California, distribution systems. 
  • $3.9 Million for Groundwater Banking Joint Powers Authority’s Phase 1 of the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project (California). Phase one of the project includes the acquisition of 350 acres in Kern County for the construction and operation of recharge basins, recovery wells, and water conveyance infrastructure. The storage capacity is approximately 28,000 acre-feet. The project is expected to produce 2,482 acre-feet of water annually.     
  • $1.3 Million for Del Puerto Water District’s Orestimba Creek Recharge and Recovery Project (California). Water will be stored in a local aquifer in wet years and then used in dry years to provide agricultural water supply under this small groundwater storage project. Recharge water will include available non-storable Central Valley Project supplies and flood water flows from Orestimba Creek. The projected average annual production is 1,485 acre-feet. 

More information can be found on Reclamation’s Small Storage Program website. 


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