WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior has announced the allocation of nearly $10 million in Fiscal Year 2022 funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for irrigation projects and power utilities owned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which invests more than $13 billion directly in tribal communities across the country, provides approximately $50 million over five years to address critical infrastructure rehabilitation in Indian Country and BIA’s water and power asset portfolio.
“Investing in irrigation and power is central to addressing climate change impacts and expanding economic opportunity in Indian Country,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law makes historic investments in tribal communities that will help bolster community resilience, replace aging infrastructure, and provide support needed for climate-related community-driven relocation and adaptation.”
“This important funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help support farmers, ranchers and communities that rely on BIA infrastructure for economic livelihood and day-to-day services such as delivery of irrigation water or electricity,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland.
The funding announced will augment new and ongoing infrastructure projects for Indian irrigation projects at:
- Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington (Wapato Irrigation Project): $3.74 million
- Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation in Arizona (Colorado River Indian Irrigation Project): $1.85 million
- Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana (Fort Peck Irrigation Project): $1.25 million
Assistant Secretary Newland will highlight the funding during a visit to the Wapato irrigation project on the Yakama Reservation in Washington state. The Wapato Irrigation Project is the largest irrigation project in the Yakima River Basin, with construction starting in 1905. It provides irrigation water to more than 135,500 acres with an estimated direct harvest benefit of $560 million. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will be used to fund a portion of the Wapato Main Diversion rehabilitation to update the diversion dam and assist with improving the fish passage for adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead, and to pass Pacific lamprey more efficiently.
Additional investments of $1 million each will bolster ongoing infrastructure projects at BIA-owned power utilities at:
- Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation in Arizona (Colorado River Agency Electrical Services)
- Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana (Mission Valley Power – Repairs and upgrades to several power substations)
- San Carlos Indian Reservation and Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona (San Carlos Irrigation Project – Power Division)
Over the next five years, approximately $35 million will be invested in key infrastructure at BIA-owned Indian irrigation projects while $15 million will be invested in key infrastructure at BIA-owned power utilities. BIA will target funding to structures and features that reduce the risk of system failure and reduce deferred maintenance.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a total of $466 million to the Bureau of Indian Affairs over five years, including $250 million to support construction, repair, improvement and maintenance of irrigation and power systems, safety of dams and public health and safety compliance issues at water sanitation systems.