ARIZONA NEWS

Biden administration investing over $500 million to conserve Colorado River System

Mar 7, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: 5:54 am

(File photo by George Rose/Getty Images)...

(File photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

(File photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Biden administration will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to conserve the Colorado River Basin System, according to a federal report released on Tuesday.

The new report, Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement — or SEIS — outlined plans to avoid dangerously low reservoir levels.

“We’ve announced more than $500 million in new investments,” according to Michael Brain, principal deputy assistant secretary for water and science for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The investments are part of the Colorado River Basin System conversation agreements with more than 20 water entities in California and Arizona, Brain said.

However, the $500 million investment is a fraction of the total amount of money the Biden administration has spent on water sustainability in the region.

Overall, the federal government has invested $15.4 billion to bolster the area’s resistance to drought over the past two years.

It’s all part of the administration’s Investing in America plan, Brain said.

How the Biden administration plans to save the Colorado River System

Camille Calimlim Touton, a federal reclamation commissioner, gave reporters more details about the report during a Tuesday press call.

“The past two decades have culminated in critically low reservoir conditions in the Colorado River Basin and across the West,” Touton said.

She added that the prolonged drought strains communities, businesses and habitats.

“The Biden-Harris administration has staved off the immediate possibility of the Colorado River System’s reservoir falling to critically low elevations,” Touton said.

The Biden administration’s investments will help conserve three million acre-feet of water through the end of 2026, officials said.

This includes three new agreements with water entities in California to conserve nearly 400,000 acre-feet of water.

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Biden administration investing over $500 million to conserve Colorado River System