California has awarded millions of dollars in federal funding to stretch water supplies


Millions of federal dollars are being directed to California to help address water shortages in the state, federal officials announced Aug. 18.

Twenty-five projects will share $310 million in federal cash to increase water capacity by 213,000 acre-feet and support more than 850,000 people. Of the total, 20 projects are in California; the other five are in Hawaii, Idaho, Texas, Utah and Washington.

“Water is essential to everything we do and it will take all of us working together to deal with the significant drought impacts we are seeing in the West,” Home Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. communicated. Haaland is responsible for the conservation and management of federal lands and natural resources.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland delivers remarks during the 2021 Tribal Nations Summit, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC on Nov. 15, 2021. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The funding comes from the bipartisan infrastructure law passed in November 2021. Potential recipients competed to win grants for several projects, including some to address environmental concerns.

According to the release, the funding will help water management agencies “stretch existing drinking water supplies,” increasing water capacity in reservoirs and implementing “advanced sewage and wastewater treatment.” naturally degraded surface and underground”.

Haaland visited the Siphon Reservoir Improvement Project in the Irvine Ranch Water District on Thursday to announce the funding. The district will receive $12 million to help complete the project.

Accompanied by Camille Calimlim Touton, head of the U.S. Office of Reclamation at the Department of the Interior, and other state and local officials during the two-day visit, Haaland also spoke with local farmers, water agencies and Fresno residents and discuss how the funding would help increase the water supply.

The parched and cracked ground
Dried out and cracked soil in an irrigation ditch next to a corn field at a farm is seen in Fresno, California on July 24, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

“Water reuse helps communities diversify their water supply as they face unprecedented drought and climate change,” said Touton, whose team focuses on dam management and water resources.

Steve Sheldon, chairman of the Orange County Water District, said grant recipients appreciate the funding. But he added that the projects would be completed regardless of receiving additional federal funds.

To qualify for a federal grant, he said, the projects would have already had to invest millions of dollars.

“Most water districts will not spend millions of dollars on planning work and the EIR [environmental impact report] unless they’re relatively sure they’ll go ahead with the project,” Sheldon told The Epoch Times in an email.

He said federal and state governments should make it easier and faster to get funding for water facility projects.

“Otherwise, the public receives false assurances that our water supply problems are being solved,” he said.

A spokesperson for the US Department of the Interior was not immediately available for comment.

Rudy Blalock

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