Biden administration invests more than $5 million in Arizona drought resiliency projects

Dec 26, 2022, 6:30 AM

Reclaimed water is used during irrigation of the Lake Powell National Golf Course near the Colorado...

Reclaimed water is used during irrigation of the Lake Powell National Golf Course near the Colorado River in Page, Arizona. The water in Lake Powell and the Colorado River has been receding due to recent droughts leaving parts of the lake and river parched. (Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

(Photo by Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Three Arizona drought resiliency projects will receive more than $5 million in federal grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department of the Interior announced on Thursday.

The Biden administration announced an investment of $84.7 million to 36 projects across eight Western states for efforts including groundwater storage, rainwater harvesting and water reuse.

“Drought resilience is more important now ever as the West is experiencing more severe and longer droughts,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said in a press release.

In Arizona, $5 million in funds will go toward the Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation and Drainage District’s Drought Resiliency Water Augmentation program.

MSIDD — located in Pinal County — is a political subdivision and municipal corporation in charge of providing irrigation water for agricultural use.

Federal funding will assist in constructing the Phase 2A Central Zone Project, which includes a new well network, existing wells upgrades and the installation of pipelines for groundwater transport.

An additional $40,000 will benefit the Sonora Environmental Research Institute Inc.’s efforts to install 50 cisterns that hold 1,500 gallons of harvested rainwater for low-income neighborhoods. The nonprofit is partnering with Tucson Water to build a greater supply of reliable drinking water.

The third grant of $44,120 is going to Chino Valley in northern Arizona — a town reliant on groundwater — for the study and conservation of water in the Little Chino Aquifer.

“As climate change exacerbates drought impacts throughout the Western United States … Today’s funding will assist our local partners as they work to build drought resilience and improve water security for their community,” Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo said in the release.

The more than two-decades megadrought in the American West has stretched resources thin, leading to water cuts and and reservoirs like Lake Mead falling to historically low levels.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated $8.3 billion for water infrastructure projects over the next five years. The WaterSMART program, from which Thursday’s announcement stems from, is a cooperation between states, tribes and organizations to act to increase water supplies in the West.

Other states receiving funds are California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Washington.

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Biden administration invests more than $5 million in Arizona drought resiliency projects