Interior makes available $180M for large-scale water recycling

Sept. 8, 2023
The Large-Scale Water Recycling Projects opportunity under WaterSMART will incentivize projects at a larger scale, with no cap on project size.

The Department of the Interior announced the launch of a new large-scale water recycling program for projects aimed at creating new water supplies that are less vulnerable to drought and climate change.

The program has received $180 million initial funding form the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

To date, the Bureau of Reclamation has invested $310 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for projects that advance water recycling and reuse. The new program will incentivize projects at a larger scale, with no cap on project size, and will play an important role in helping communities develop local, drought-resistant water supplies by turning unusable water sources into clean, reliable ones.

“Water is essential to everything we do: feeding families, growing crops, powering agricultural businesses, sustaining wildlife and safeguarding Tribal subsistence practices,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “As the climate crisis drives severe drought conditions and historically low water allocations, it will take all of us working together to safeguard our communities. Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have historic new investments that are helping us to build a water supply that will sustain future generations.”

The funding opportunity — part of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program — is aimed at water management agencies considering or planning larger water reuse projects as part of strategies to address projected water supply shortages. The initial investment of $180 million is part of a total $450 million for this new program.

“Through investments from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Bureau of Reclamation is supporting work on multiple water recycling projects throughout the West. With this new program, we will be able to fund larger projects to grow local water supplies and serve more individuals,” said Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton. “As we work to address the drought crisis, its critical we are advancing innovative, forward-looking solutions that help communities develop local, drought resistant water supplies.”

In order to allow more flexibility in application, this opportunity has multiple application deadlines in 2023 and 2024. Projects that secure and stretch reliable water supplies for drought-stricken states and communities, provide water quality improvements, reduce impacts on projects owned by federal or state agencies, or provide benefits to disadvantaged, underserved and Tribal communities will be prioritized. More information is available on the website by searching “R23AS00433.”