The Biden Administration announced the allocation of over $300 million in funding for water reuse projects across the country Thursday as the West faces its driest period in human history.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton announced that $309.8 million will be assigned to the “design and construction of water reuse projects across the country,” according to a press release from the US Department of Interior.
The funding will come from Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, with an additional $1 million in “appropriated funding for the planning.”
“The selected projects will advance drought resilience and are expected to increase annual capacity by about 213,000 acre-feet of water, enough water to support more than 850,000 people a year,” the press release said.
The announcement follows the lawmakers’ two-day visit through central and southern states, aiming to “address the drought crisis and expand access to clean drinking water for families, farmers and wildlife.”
“Water is essential to everything we do and it will take all of us, working together, to address the significant drought impacts we are seeing across the West,” Haaland said in the statement. “As the climate crisis drives severe drought conditions and historically low water allocations, President Biden investments’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is making historic to address water and drought challenges and invest in our nation’s western water and power infrastructure.”
Haaland, as well as federal, state and local leaders, visited farmers and other citizens in Fresno Wednesday to discuss “water solutions for farmers and highlight investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
The funding comes as reports show that more than half of Western America is in “exceptional, “extreme” or “severe” drought conditions, with tens of millions of shrinking reservoirs, as well as potential power outputs amid extreme heat.
“Water reuse helps communities diversify their water supply as they are facing an drought and a changing climate,” Touton said. “This has tangible impacts and can help feed families, grow crops, sustain wildlife and the environment and help more families access safe, clean, reliable water.
“These projects will provide flexibility for communities and help them stretch their current drinking supplies as they will be treating wastewater that continues to be available,” he added.