Economic Stimulus Money for Water Projects

President Obama Provides Economic Stimulus Money for Important
Western Water Projects

California and indeed the entire western region of the United States, face
chronic issues with respect to water use management. As reported in a
December 2008 article on this site, California faces special problems
intensified by cycles of drought; additionally, budget shortfalls are compounding
the problems by limiting what the State can accomplish. Some relief may be in
sight, though; in April 2009, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, met with
California’s Governor to offer help in the form of economic stimulus money aimed
at helping to take some stress off of the water supply of the western United States.

“In the midst of one of the deepest economic crises in our history, Californians
have been saddled with a drought that is putting tens of thousands of people
out of work and devastating entire communities,” said Secretary Salazar.
“President Obama’s economic recovery plan will not only create jobs on basic
water infrastructure projects, but it will help address both the short- and long-term
water supply challenges the Golden State is facing. From boosting water supplies
and improving conservation to improving safety at our dams, these shovel-ready
projects will make a real and immediate difference in the lives of farmers,
businesses, Native American Tribes and communities across California.”

In particular, Secretary Salazar identified a series of programs including:

  • $40 million for immediate emergency drought relief in the West, focused on
    California. These investments will allow for the installation of groundwater wells
    to boost water supplies to agricultural and urban contractors, the facilitation of
    the delivery of Federal water to Reclamation contractors through water transfers
    and exchanges, and the installation of rock barriers in the Sacramento Delta to
    meet water quality standards during low flows;
  • $109.8 million to build a screened pumping plant at the Red Bluff Diversion Dam
    to protect fish populations while delivering water to agricultural users irrigating
    approximately 150,000 acres;
  • $22.3 million to address dam safety concerns at the Folsom Dam near
    Sacramento, which is currently among the highest risk dams in the country for public safety;
  • $8.5 million to repair water-related infrastructure at Folsom Dam;
  • $20 million for the Contra Costa Canal to protect water supplies for
    500,000 Californians and to build fish screens to restore winter-run Chinook
    salmon and the endangered Delta smelt;
  • $4.5 million to restore the Trinity River and honor the Federal government’s
    responsibility to the Native American Tribes;
  • $26 million for Battle Creek Salmon/Steelhead Restoration project, which will
    help restore fisheries that support thousands of jobs in northern California.
  • $4 million to the Bay Delta Conservation Plan for conveyance systems to move
    Central Valley Project and State Water Project water, habitat restoration and
    adaptive management;
  • $4 million to broaden scientific knowledge of Klamath River sedimentation for
    future management decision-making;
  • $20.7 million in smaller water infrastructure and related projects across
    California.

Several of these projects should appear familiar to readers of this site as they
have been identified as high-impact projects that are required to deal with water
management in the Golden State. Additional projects are focused on prevention
of future water shortages by investing in upfront planning and preparation before
another crisis presents itself. In a state with a centuries-old tradition of cyclic
drought, it seems wise to make such investments

Beyond the California-specific projects, Secretary Salazar announced almost
$1 billion in additional effort focused on water in the western United States.
These projects include:

  • Meeting Future Water Supply Needs (including Title XVI water recycling projects
    and rural water projects) – $450 million
  • Improving Infrastructure Reliability and Safety – $165 million
  • Environmental and Ecosystem Restoration – $235 million
  • Water Conservation Initiative (Challenge Grants) – $40 million
  • Green Buildings – $14 million
  • Delivering water from the Colorado River to users in central Utah under
    the Central Utah Project Completion Act – $50 million
  • Emergency drought relief in the West – $40 million

The Department of the Interior, on its website, states that they selected
projects that address the Department’s highest priority mission needs;
generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and
creates lasting value for the American public. It seems certain that investing
in water management in the American west will pay dividends for years to come.

Economic Stimulus Money for Water Projects

President Obama Provides Economic Stimulus Money for Important
Western Water Projects

California and indeed the entire western region of the United States, face
chronic issues with respect to water use management. As reported in a
December 2008 article on this site, California faces special problems
intensified by cycles of drought; additionally, budget shortfalls are compounding
the problems by limiting what the State can accomplish. Some relief may be in
sight, though; in April 2009, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, met with
California’s Governor to offer help in the form of economic stimulus money aimed
at helping to take some stress off of the water supply of the western United States.

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