Biden-Harris Administration Announces $700 Million from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda for Long-Term Water Conservation in the Lower Colorado River Basin

Investments from the Inflation Reduction Act will build a more resilient western landscape to help local, state, and Tribal communities tackle the climate crisis and enhance water security

Last edited 06/06/2024

Date: Thursday, June 6, 2024

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced an initial $700 million investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for long-term water conservation projects across the Lower Colorado River Basin. This investment – which has the potential to save more than 700,000 acre-feet of water in Lake Mead – will fund innovative projects like water distribution structures, advanced metering infrastructure, farm efficiency improvements, canal lining, turf removal, groundwater banking, desalination, recycling water and water purification. These projects are critical for enhancing the long-term drought and climate resilience of the Colorado River’s Lower Basin.

The Colorado River Basin provides water for more than 40 million people, fuels hydropower resources in seven U.S. states, is a crucial resource for 30 Tribal Nations and two states in Mexico, and supports 5.5 million acres of agriculture and agricultural communities across the West. Despite improved hydrology in recent months, a historic 23-year drought has led to record low water levels at Lake Powell and Lake Mead. The Biden-Harris administration has led a comprehensive effort to address the ongoing drought and to prevent the Colorado River System’s reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations threatening water deliveries and power production in the region. 

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to making western communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Building on our significant efforts to protect the Colorado River System, we are continuing to make smart investments through the President’s Investing in America agenda to strengthen the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System and support the 40 million people who rely on this basin now and into the future.” 

The funding announced today is for “Bucket 2” projects being funded by the Lower Colorado Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program, which was established through the Inflation Reduction Act, which represents the largest investment in tackling climate change in history. The program uses historic investments to address the drought crisis with prompt and responsive actions by providing resources for short-term water management and long-term conservation efforts in the Colorado River Basin.  

“We are already seeing returns on the historic investments made by the Biden-Harris administration in the Lower Colorado River Basin, with commitments to save more than 1.7 million acre-feet of water in the basin through 2026 facilitated largely through the Bucket 1 program,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “These Bucket 2 projects will build long-term resiliency in the basin by investing in system efficiency projects across all sectors.” 

Reclamation is working with Tribal, state and individual water entitlement holders on proposals for projects located in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California to utilize this funding. Selected projects and details of agreements will be announced on a rolling basis in coordination with basin partners. 

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. The Inflation Reduction Act provides an additional $4.6 billion to strengthen drought resilience across the West.   


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