An energy infrastructure bill that passed a key U.S. Senate committee this week includes $8 billion for water conveyance and other Western needs.
A coalition of more than 200 farm and water groups that has been pushing this year for Western water fixes to be included in any infrastructure legislation is urging senators to bring the Energy Infrastructure Act to the floor.
The more than $100 billion bill is a bipartisan compromise promoted by centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who has insisted any bill receive Republican support. Manchin chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which voted 13-7 on July 14 to favorably report out the package after adding 48 amendments.
“On behalf of Western farmers, ranchers, businesses and residents, we commend Chairman Manchin and the Senate ENR Committee for their commitment to drafting and passing a balanced infrastructure package that includes resources for critical Western water supply needs,” Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen said.
According to the coalition, the bill includes the following Western water provisions:
- Aging Infrastructure: $3.2 billion, includes $100 million for certain Reclamation projects suffering a critical failure and $100 million for repairs to certain Carey Act dams
- Water Storage, Groundwater Storage and Conveyance: $1.15 billion, includes $100 million for new 25% grants for small surface/groundwater storage projects
- Water Recycling: $1 billion, includes $450 million for new authorized large water recycling project grant program
- Desalination: $250 million
- Rural Water: $1 billion
- Dam Safety: $500 million
- Drought Contingency Plan: $300 million, includes $50 million for Upper Basin States
- WaterSMART: $400 million, includes $100 million for natural infrastructure projects
- Cooperative Watershed Management: $100 million
- Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program: $250 million
- Watershed Enhancement Projects: $100 million
- Colorado River Endangered Species Recovery and Conservation Programs: $50 million
Click here for the latest coalition letter to Manchin and Ranking Member John Barrasso, R-Wyo.