Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo wrapped up a three-day trip to California today where she highlighted President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $8.3 billion investments in water management and drought resilience. During her visit, Assistant Secretary Trujillo met with elected officials, water managers, scientists, and local leaders to hear about the impacts that the climate crisis is having on the region and the Department’s commitment to investing in Western communities’ water infrastructure.
“As the West continues to face the impacts of the climate crisis and aging infrastructure, the Department of the Interior is working closely with local and federal partners to deploy critical resources to drought-stricken communities,” said Assistant Secretary Trujillo. “California’s water system is essential to local residents and businesses, Tribes, the region’s unique fish and wildlife, and communities across the country which depend on the state’s agricultural abundance. The Department is moving quickly to deploy and utilize not only existing sources of funding but also the new investment opportunities through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
The trip put a spotlight on President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments in water efficiency and recycling programs, rural water projects, WaterSMART grants, and dam safety that will ensure that irrigators, Tribes, and adjoining communities receive adequate assistance and support.
Assistant Secretary Trujillo toured the Friant Dam in Fresno County, Calif., where she was briefed on the San Joaquin River Restoration Program’s efforts to restore and maintain fish populations in the San Joaquin River. On Tuesday, she joined a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of repairs to the Friant-Kern Canal. The 152-mile canal plays a critical role in delivering water to one million acres of highly productive farmland and more than 250,000 people from Fresno south to Bakersfield.
She also traveled to Sacramento, Calif. to tour the Yolo Bypass and receive a briefing on the collaborative efforts of farmers, scientists, Tribes, and local and federal partners to restore natural systems and wildlife habitats. She also visited and received a briefing on restoration projects in the Lower American River.
The Department recently announced funding opportunities available to help Western communities create or expand clean, new water sources. The selected projects, which include desalination, and water reclamation and reuse projects, will be funded through investments in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and, when enacted, fiscal year 2022 appropriations.