From Water and Wastewater.com
Title XVI Stimulus funds for Water Reuse projects
Jul 9, 2009 - 12:35:53 PM
Alexandria, VA -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced July 1 that $134.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are being released to local water agencies for 27 innovative water reuse and desalination projects. The stimulus funding is being directed to "shovel ready" projects authorized under the Title XVI Program, which is administered by the Bureau of Reclamation in 17 western states.
"We thank the Department of the Interior for making these funds available to drought starved communities in a timely fashion," said WateReuse Association President Richard Atwater, who is also General Manager and CEO of the Inland Empire Utilities Agency in Chino, CA.
"Water recycling and reuse project construction assistance is one of the best ways to address the current economic downturn. The assistance will help local communities generate jobs immediately and those jobs will create projects that sustain long-term economic activity."
The stimulus funds will benefit projects in communities that have secured matching funding and are ready to proceed immediately with construction. Local governments will leverage the federal funding by a factor of about 5:1 through matching funding, resulting in a total investment of more than $676 million in new water reuse and desalination projects. The economic stimulus resulting from the federal investment in recycled water projects will have significant job creating benefits in drought impacted communities throughout the West.
Of the nearly $135 million in funding announced by the Department of the Interior today, the Bureau of Reclamation will use about $4.2 million—or 3%—to ensure the projects' compliance with federal regulations and statutes as well as adherence to the Recovery Act goals.
"The Bureau of Reclamation is known for its forward-looking partnerships with local communities and governments to provide reliable, efficient water across 17 western states," Secretary Salazar said.
"These ARRA funds will continue that tradition-creating economic opportunities and local jobs while infusing some of the nation's most drought- ravaged areas with expanded water supplies and a brighter outlook for the future."
WateReuse Association Executive Director Wade Miller added, "The Title XVI program is an example of a highly successful federal program. Because of the strong partnership with local governments to develop water reuse and desalination projects, communities throughout the West are developing local, sustainable water supplies."
Water reuse, which is the process of converting a waste product into a resource that is highly beneficial, is "green" and "eco-friendly." These projects also offset the demands on limited potable water supplies. Energy costs related to pumping, conveyance, and storage are dramatically reduced because of the local nature of the project, thereby enhancing the economics of recycling and reuse.
The state of California, which has been particularly hard hit with both drought and recession, is getting the biggest infusion of Title XVI stimulus funding with 26 of the 27 funded projects located within the state. One project in New Mexico will also receive ARRA funds. All of the projects are designed to provide a drought-proof water supply to communities that have too little of this precious resource.
The $134.3 million for these projects is part of President Obama's $1 billion investment of ARRA funding provided by the Department of the Interior for water projects across the West. In April, Secretary Salazar announced an additional $260 million in ARRA funding to address California's current drought conditions and to meet the state's long-term water supply infrastructure needs. Today's announcement brings total funding for California water-related activities funding under the Interior portion of ARRA to $381 million.
President Obama signed the ARRA into law on February 17, 2009. Within ARRA, a minimum of $126 million was allocated to Title XVI. The Department of the Interior later announced that it would provide $135 million to support water recycling projects construction.
Recipients of the Title XVI funding announced today must meet specific requirements such as demonstrating complete compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental laws; have an approved determination of financial capability; a feasibility study that meets the established requirements of Title XVI; an approved determination of financial capability; and an executed cooperative agreement for financial assistance.
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