$585 million investment will repair old structures across U.S.

The United States Department of the Interior announced on April 5 in a press release nearly $585 million will be allocated to 11 states to reconstruct and rebuild old water infrastructure. The money is part of an investment plan that will restore water in the west and be distributed across all major river basins in the Western and Central U.S. 

$27.7 million was given to Arizona for the Colorado River and Yuma County. 

According to the Arizona Mirror, five different projects will be completed in Arizona. Three will be on the Colorado River and two in Yuma County. The money will be distributed across the other 10 states for 78 different projects.  

The Colorado River Front Work and Levee System will have $21.2 million for projects. Dredging, baseline road repair and gate rehabilitation are the main projects for various places in the Front Work and Levee System. The remaining $6.5 million is for Yuma County to replace aging pipes and a failing drainage system near Highway 95. 

Mitch Landrieu, senior advisor and infrastructure coordinator to the president, tweeted that the money used for repairs would make the country “stronger and less dependent” on a single water source. 

“Through his whole-of-government approach, @POTUS is ensuring that we conserve water for people, businesses, farmers and ecosystems – to help communities across Arizona and the Colorado River Basin thrive,” Landrieu said in a tweet

Drought resilience and clean water are some of the Biden Administration's goals, yet in Arizona the projects receiving funding are less directed toward this issue. Yuma County will work on pipe replacement, and the Colorado River projects will focus on road repairs, according to Arizona Mirror. 

Although it is not the main focus for Arizona projects, drought resilience is likely to be an outcome.

Flagstaff will not receive any of the funds for water infrastructures. 

However, Lisa Deem, the management analyst for the City of Flagstaff, said Flagstaff Water Services is always looking and applying for funds “aligned to mutual goals."

The money from the investment will be built on the existing $240 million allocated from 2022 for other water infrastructure repairs. This is a part of a bigger plan to replace torn down water structures in the Western U.S.

“President Biden is investing in America, and today’s announcement, delivering much-needed repairs to aging dams and other water infrastructure, is part of our whole-of-government approach to making communities more resilient to drought,” Landrieu said in a press release. 

President Biden signed the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act on Nov. 21, 2021. Distribution of money began in 2022 and will continue through the 2026 fiscal year. It is the longest investment plan for rebuilding old infrastructures in U.S. history.  

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation laid out a plan for the investment. It outlines topics such as spending plans, estimated timing for projects and frequently asked questions. There is also a map of the Western U.S. that allows people to see what kinds of projects are being accomplished and where. 

Substantial investment funds are expected in October 2023. Although water infrastructure is at the focus for the $585 million, other structures like roads, bridges, mass transit systems and broadbands are also planned for reconstruction in the bill.  

For more information about the infrastructure bill and water infrastructure repairs, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has a database that allows users to look up information about specific plans to individual dams or power plants.

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