Last week the Biden administration submitted to Congress the President’s budget for fiscal year 2022 which includes a $1.5 billion investment for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation.
“Drought, climate change, and issues of equity and sustainability as well as the continuous need to secure and modernize our nation’s water infrastructure are challenges that Reclamation, partners, and stakeholders all face,” said Deputy Commissioner of Reclamation Camille Touton. “Reclamation’s budget for 2022 will provide our team of dedicated professionals a solid operational baseline to develop innovative solutions and support adaptive management of limited resources.”
The President’s budget includes four components:
- Increase Water Reliability and Resilience. The proposed FY 2022 budget includes $1.4 billion for Reclamation’s principal operating account (Water and Related Resources), which funds planning, construction, water conservation, management of Reclamation lands, and efforts to address fish and wildlife habitat needs. The request also supports the operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities—including dam safety—at Reclamation facilities. Funding of $33 million is proposed to implement the California Bay-Delta Program and help address California’s current water supply and ecological challenges, while $56.5 million is for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to protect, restore, and enhance fish, wildlife, and associated habitats in the Central Valley and Trinity River basins. It also provides $64.4 million to develop, evaluate, and directly implement Reclamation-wide policy, rules and regulations, as well as other administrative functions.
- Support Racial and Economic Equity. The budget supports many of the Administration priorities, including those for racial and economic equity in support of underserved communities and tribal areas. A request of $92.9 million advances the construction and continues the operations and maintenance of authorized rural water projects. Additionally, the FY 2022 budget request includes a total of $157.6 million for Indian water rights settlements, supporting the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project; the Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement; the Aamodt Litigation Settlement; the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement; the Nez Perce Settlement within Columbia and Snake Rivers Salmon Recovery Project; the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act; the Gila River Indian Community; the Ak-Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act; and the Colorado Ute Settlement Act within the Animas La Plata Project. The budget provides $20 million for the Native American Affairs Program, which provides technical support and assistance to tribal governments to develop and manage their water resources.
- Enhance Water Conservation and Climate Resilience. Conservation and climate resilience are mission oriented and critical goals of Reclamation operations. This is emphasized by a $45.2 million request for the Lower Colorado River Operations Program, including $15 million to build on the work of Reclamation, Colorado River partners and stakeholders to implement drought contingency plans; $3.3 million for the Upper Colorado River Operations Program to support Drought Response Operations; $184.7 million to find long-term, comprehensive water supply solutions for farmers, families and communities in California’s Central Valley Project; and $54.1 million for the WaterSMART Program to support Reclamation’s collaboration with non-federal partners to address emerging water demands and water shortage issues in the West. A total of $27.5 million will continue Reclamation’s Research and Development investments in science, technology, and desalination research in support of prize competitions, technology transfers, and pilot testing projects.
- Modernize Infrastructure. Reclamation’s dams and reservoirs, water conveyance systems, and power generating facilities continue to represent a primary focus area of organizational operations. $207.1 million is provided for the Dam Safety Program to effectively manage risks to downstream public, including $182.5 million for modification actions, while $125.3 million is requested for extraordinary maintenance activities across Reclamation—part of a strategy to improve asset management and deal with aging infrastructure to ensure continued reliable delivery of water and power.
To view the President’s FY 2022 budget, go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.