Federal Affairs Briefing: Infrastructure Funding and Western Water

 Bipartisan Infrastructure Package Presents Funding Opportunities for Western Colorado

On November 15, President Biden signed the long-awaited, bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). With over $8 billion for Western water infrastructure maintenance and projects – including repairing aging dams and canals, building new storage and conveyance facilities, funding water conservation and recycling projects, and improving watershed and ecosystem management – River District staff quickly arrived in Washington, D.C. and shifted attention to the federal agencies overseeing IIJA funding distribution.

In addition to meetings with Department of the Interior and Bureau of Reclamation representatives, River District staff met with members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to advocate for West Slope water projects as IIJA funding distribution moves forward.

More recently, the Bureau of Reclamation has held a series of stakeholder webinars for Tribes and water users throughout the West that have served to provide more information on the various funding programs and processes for seeking funds made available by passage of the IIJA. All Bureau stakeholder webinars have been recorded and are available to the public along with additional resources and information at www.usbr.gov/bil/.

To better assist our constituents, the River District has created an internal team to better understand the schedule and process of IIJA funding distribution via various agencies and to help connect our West Slope water users to appropriate funding sources.

Zane Kessler, Director of Government Relations, stated “We’re in an outreach and communications phase right now. Our working group is going to continue to get out there and do what we can to try and pull some partners together to apply for and bring some of these federal dollars to the Western Slope.”

 

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