U.S. SENATE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) touted water infrastructure victories that he secured for New Mexico as the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works considered the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) – legislation that authorizes Army Corps of Engineers water projects nationwide.
“As New Mexico continues to battle wildfires across our state, it’s absolutely critical that our water infrastructure is not only maintained but strengthened to meet the immediate needs of our communities during this challenging time,” Luján said. “I’m glad this legislation acts to update existing water infrastructure needs in our communities, allowing for safe water to drink and use. This legislation also expands opportunities for acequias by providing much needed cost-share relief and expands access to Tribal and Pueblo communities to receive federal funding to improve their capacity to combat the ongoing threats of climate change and prolonged drought.”
Senator Luján helped champion the following provisions:
- Increased the Acequia Irrigation System section of WRDA by $27 million, and expanded program eligibility so that Tribes and Pueblos will be eligible to access this funding. Reduced the cost share from 75% federal, 25% non-federal to 90% federal, 10% non-federal for economically disadvantaged areas. This program is carried out by Army Corps and provides assistance so that parciantes can implement more resilient diversion structures and manage drought and invasive species, and support research, development, and training for water management solutions;
- Increased Section 593, the Program for Central New Mexico from $50 million to $100 million to ensure drinking, waste, and storm water projects in Bernalillo, Valencia, and Sandoval counties can employ infrastructure to address flooding and improve water quality;
- Increased the Western Rural Water program by $55 million to provide communities throughout the West, including New Mexico, with much needed funds for drinking, waste, and storm water projects;
- Reduced the cost share for the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection project from 65% federal, 35% non-federal to 75% federal, 25% non-federal.