US taps $420M to boost water supplies hit by climate change

Mar 31, 2022, 3:10 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials are funneling more money to rural water projects in several states as the Biden administration looks to put a dent in growing infrastructure needs amid drought and climate change.

The U.S. Interior Department announced Thursday that $420 million will be spent on projects in New Mexico, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. The work includes construction of water treatment plants, pipeline connections, pump systems and reservoirs to provide drinking water to rural and tribal communities.

The West is experiencing a more than 20-year megadrought. Scientists say the region has become much warmer and drier in recent decades and that climate change will continue to make weather more extreme, wildfires more frequent and destructive, and water supplies less reliable.

From Idaho and Montana south to New Mexico and Arizona, even soil moisture levels have hit record lows as major reservoirs along the Colorado River have plummeted. Earlier this month, Lake Powell hit a record low, spurring concerns about the ability to crank out more hydropower from the dam that holds it back.

Native American tribes that are seeing relief from a federal funding drought are working to build infrastructure to fulfill water rights settlements and related projects. On the Navajo Nation for example, tens of thousands of people still live without running water, while tribes in the upper Midwest are awaiting pipeline extensions that would tap into reliable sources.

In all, the infrastructure measure included $5 billion for western water programs, with 20% of that dedicated to rural projects.

Federal officials said the allocations were based on project plans and significant accomplishments that are projected to be completed with the funding provided.

The largest share — $160 million — will go toward a project decades in the making that will eventually provide water for about 70,000 people who live in communities along the New Mexico-Texas state line, where the Ogallala aquifer is being pumped at a faster rate than it’s being replenished.

The Eastern New Mexico Water Utility Authority will receive additional money from the Bureau of Reclamation and the state of New Mexico. When combined with matching money from the utility, the total for this year will be more than $228 million.

“This will take us far in the construction of this critically important project,” said Michael Morris, chairman of the water authority and mayor of Clovis, a rural community in eastern New Mexico.

Tanya Trujillo, assistant Interior secretary for water and science, was flanked by water managers in Albuquerque when she made the announcement. New Mexico is among the states dealing with shrinking supplies amid consecutive years of drought.

“The department is committed to bringing clean, reliable drinking water to rural communities to help strengthen resilience to climate change,” Trujillo said.

Other allocations include $75.5 million for the Lewis & Clark Rural Water System, which spans parts of South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The system is designed to pipe water from the Missouri River to areas as far as 60 miles away that have less plentiful resources.

In North Dakota, $51 million will go to a section of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program.

More than $57 million will go to the Rocky Boys/North Central Montana Rural Water System, which serves the Rocky Boy’s Reservation and numerous municipalities. The Fort Peck Reservation in Montana will benefit from $7 million for the water system there.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stands outside Maximos Mansion in Athens, May 6,...
Associated Press

Greek PM ‘unaware’ of prominent politician’s wiretap

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister said Monday he was unaware that the country’s intelligence service had been bugging an opposition politician’s mobile phone for three months, insisting that he wouldn’t have allowed it had he known. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who faces elections next year, made the remarks in a televised address to the nation […]
6 hours ago
In this photo provided by the New Zealand Defence Force, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherm...
Associated Press

US official says Solomon Islands leader ‘missed opportunity’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The U.S. deputy secretary of state said Monday the prime minister of the Solomon Islands “missed an important opportunity” by failing to attend a memorial service to mark the anniversary of a key World War II battle, amid concerns the South Pacific island nation is building closer ties with China. […]
6 hours ago
This combination photo of celebrities with birthdays from Aug. 14-20 shows David Crosby, from left,...
Associated Press

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Aug. 14-20

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Aug. 14-20: Aug. 14: Singer Dash Crofts of Seals and Crofts is 84. Singer David Crosby is 81. Country singer Connie Smith is 81. Actor-musician Steve Martin is 77. Actor Antonio Fargas (“Starsky and Hutch”) is 76. Bassist Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone is 76. Actor […]
6 hours ago
Al Medvitz, who farms alfalfa and other crops, looks out over Sacramento River from a hill on his l...
Associated Press

In dry California, salty water creeps into key waterways

RIO VISTA, Calif. (AP) — Charlie Hamilton hasn’t irrigated his vineyards with water from the Sacramento River since early May, even though it flows just yards from his crop. Nearby to the south, the industrial Bay Area city of Antioch has supplied its people with water from the San Joaquin River for just 32 days […]
6 hours ago
FILE - The Pfizer logo is displayed on the exterior of a former Pfizer factory, on May 4, 2014, in ...
Associated Press

Pfizer buying spree continues with $5.4B hematology deal

Pfizer will spend about $5.4 billion to buy Global Blood Therapeutics as the pharmaceutical giant continues to invest some of the cash influx reaped during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pfizer said Monday that the acquisition will boost its capabilities in rare hematology. Global Therapeutics makes Oxybryta tablets for treating sickle cell disease. The latest deal follows […]
6 hours ago
FILE - This undated file photo provided by NerdWallet shows Liz Weston, a columnist for personal fi...
Associated Press

Liz Weston: 3 ways to fight inflation and win the long game

Inflation is scary. Groceries, gas, airfare, car purchases, utilities : In so many areas, your buying power is shrinking as prices continue to rise. Fear can make you want to do something — anything! — to fight back. Thankfully, many of the best moves to counteract inflation align beautifully with time-tested money management practices. Here […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
US taps $420M to boost water supplies hit by climate change