Bureau of Reclamation invests in reuse, desal projects

The Bureau of Reclamation recently announced the selection of 31 planning projects to receive more than $28 million in appropriated funding to support potential new water reuse and desalination projects.

The 31 projects are in California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. The projects also bring a cost-share contribution of $64.7 million, bringing the total investment of $93.7 million.

Reclamation said the funding is aimed at creating new sources of water supply less vulnerable to drought and climate change. Recipients will use the funding to prepare feasibility studies and undertake other planning efforts like preliminary project design and environmental compliance activities.

“These projects currently under development will supplement existing freshwater supplies in urban and agricultural areas in the Western United States,” said Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner David Palumbo. “The funding announced today will provide needed assistance to communities and entities as they undertake the development of feasibility studies and other planning necessary to facilitate project development.”

The funding is part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART program, which focuses on collaborative efforts to plan and implement actions to increase water supply reliability, including investments to modernize infrastructure.

Funding for the planning and design activities is intended to assist in the development of potential new construction projects that could be carried out under the Desalination Construction Program, the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program and the Large-Scale Water Recycling Program.

The Desalination Construction Program provides a path for ocean or brackish water desalination projects to receive federal funding. The Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program funding is for projects that reclaim or reuse wastewater or impaired ground or surface water and have a total project cost of less than $500 million. Under the Large-Scale Water Recycling Program, Reclamation will provide funding for water recycling projects with total project costs exceeding $500 million.

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