As drought conditions continue to worsen and alarm many communities, water conservation has become increasingly important. In efforts to protect its water supplies, it has been recently announced that the Gila River Indian Community will receive a total of $233 million in funding, which will be spent towards water infrastructure projects.
The Gila River Indian Community plans to utilize the $50 million that it will receive towards water system conservation systems. Some of the funding agreements that the community entered into are the solar-covered canals project and the reclaim water pipeline project, which aim to increase the conservation of the Colorado River system. The community is set to receive an additional $83 million for the reclaim water pipeline project.
Arizona Daily Sun reported:
The Gila River Indian Community will receive up to $50 million for water system conservation initiatives, resulting in nearly two feet of elevation savings in Lake Mead that will benefit the Colorado River system.
The Gila River Indian Community has committed to similar water savings in 2024 and 2025 for up to an additional $100 million in funding, Palumbo added. That is $150 million in funding for the Gila River Indian Community’s water system conservation initiatives.
The project’s funding comes from the Inflation Reduction Act and is part of the Lower Colorado River System Conservation and Efficiency program. The program, announced in 2022, was established to help increase water conservation, improve water efficiency, and prevent the System’s reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations that would threaten water deliveries and power production.
The Gila River Indian Community will receive an additional $83 million for a second water system conservation project, their reclaim water pipeline project, which aims to expand, reuse and increase Colorado River water conservation.
The project will generate approximately 20,000 acre-feet of water per year, nearly 80,000 of which will shore up elevations at Lake Mead over a 10-year period, Palumbo said.
The funds for the water pipeline project come from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations. The project is expected to start construction this summer and be completed by the end of 2024.