The Energy Infrastructure Act was recently passed by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by a vote of 13-7. The legislation includes several provisions that will assist with some of the water concerns in the Western United States. A sizable coalition of agricultural and water groups issued their support for the bill’s advancement. Supporters include the California Farm Bureau Federation, Western Growers, Family Farm Alliance, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA), and the National Water Resources Association. The coalition is now encouraging swift action from the full Senate to move forward on the bill.
“We support the all-of-above approach taken in the Energy Infrastructure Act, which includes more than $8 billion for Western water projects that expand conservation and recycling efforts, improve ecosystems, fix crumbling dams and canals, and build new storage and conveyance facilities,” ACWA Executive Director Dave Eggerton said in a news release.
Some of the provisions of the Energy Infrastructure Act include support for addressing water infrastructure and improving storage and conveyance. A total of $3.2 billion would be authorized to enhance aging infrastructure, including $100 million for specific Reclamation projects suffering critical failure. The act also includes $1.15 billion in support for water storage and conveyance projects. Significant funding support would also go towards dam safety, watershed enhancement projects, desalination, and water recycling.
The coalition supporting the bill is made up of more than 220 organizations from 15 states. Prior to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee vote, the coalition had sent a letter of support for the legislation. “The package both aligns with the solutions water managers across the Western United States have requested for years and provides a balanced package of tools that local and regional managers may select from to best resolve the water needs and challenges in their local communities,” the letter states.