Senate approves funds for new Colorado River water projects

By Alex Hager/KUNC
Published: Thursday, December 22, 2022 - 10:47pm
Updated: Friday, December 23, 2022 - 8:41am

Racing to avoid a government shutdown, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.7 trillion spending package Thursday. The federal plan — which still needs House approval ahead of Friday night's deadline — includes money for a number of water projects in the West.

A water conservation plan from Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico would use $125 million in federal dollars. That’s for payouts to farmers, ranchers, and cities who come up with plans to use less water.

Another share of funding will go to fish recovery programs. Other spending will go to projects around the Salton Sea, an inland lake in Southern California created by runoff from farm fields.

Grants will help tamp down dust from drier parts of the lakebed, and promote a healthy ecosystem for nearby fish and wildlife. The Colorado River Basin got some big help from federal spending earlier this year. The Inflation reduction act designated $4 billion to help the shrinking river, which supplies 40 million people across the Southwest.

Sustainability Water