News | April 6, 2023

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Up To $233M In Water Conservation Funding For Gila River Indian Community

Following a visit to the Gila River Indian Community, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau, Senior Advisor to the President and White House Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mitch Landrieu, and Deputy Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner David Palumbo announced up to $233M in historic funding and conservation agreements to help the Gila River Indian Community and water users across the Colorado River Basin protect the stability and sustainability of the Colorado River System. They were joined by federal, state, local and Tribal leaders. 

The visit is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America tour to highlight the opportunities that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act are creating. Combined, these laws represent the largest investments in climate resilience in the nation’s history and provide unprecedented resources to support the Administration’s comprehensive, government-wide approach to make Western communities more resilient to drought and climate change. 

“Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we have historic, once-in-a-generation investments to expand access to clean drinking water for families, farmers and Tribes,” said Deputy Secretary Beaudreau. “In the wake of record drought throughout the West, safeguarding Tribal access to water resources could not be more critical. These types of agreements will support Tribal communities through essential water infrastructure projects and support water conservation in the Colorado River System.” 

“Water is a sacred resource and crucial to ensuring the health, safety and empowerment of Tribal communities,” said Deputy Commissioner Palumbo. “The Bureau of Reclamation is hard at work to support projects that have long awaited this kind of funding – projects that are integral to protecting the Colorado River System and the communities that rely on it. By working together, we can ensure the longevity of the basin.” 

The Gila River Indian Community will receive $50M in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act via the Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program, which will help finance a system conservation agreement to protect Colorado River reservoir storage volumes amid persistent climate change-driven drought conditions. This conservation initiative will result in nearly 2 feet of elevation in Lake Mead for the benefit of the Colorado River System. The agreement also includes the creation of up to 125,000 acre-feet of system conservation water in both 2024 and 2025, with an investment of an additional $50M for each additional year. This is among the first allocations for a system conservation agreement from the Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program.   

In October 2022, the Department announced the creation of the Lower Colorado River Basin System Conservation and Efficiency Program to help increase water conservation, improve water efficiency, and prevent the System’s reservoirs from falling to critically low elevations that would threaten water deliveries and power production. 

In addition, the Department announced $83M for the Gila River Indian Community’s Reclaimed Water Pipeline Project to expand water reuse and increase Colorado River water conservation. The project will provide a physical connection of reclaimed water to Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project facilities. When completed, the project will provide up to 20,000 acre-feet annually for system conservation with a minimum of 78,000 acre-feet committed to remain Lake Mead. Funding for the pipeline project comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations.  

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law including $8.3B for Reclamation water infrastructure projects over five years to advance drought resilience and expand access to clean water for families, farmers and wildlife. The investment will repair aging water delivery systems, secure dams, complete rural water projects, and protect aquatic ecosystems. The Inflation Reduction Act is investing another $4.6B to address Western drought.  

More information on the Administration’s all-of-government effort to support the Colorado River Basin is available via a White House fact sheet ( 

Source: Bureau of Reclamation