Economic Stimulus Money for Water Projects

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Economic Stimulus Money for Water Projects Powered By Docstoc
					?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
? $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.

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