Senate Passes Critical Water Legislation Containing Luján Victories
Washington D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) issued the following statement after the Senate passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) – legislation that authorizes Army Corps of Engineers water projects nationwide.
“As the climate crisis continues to threaten New Mexico communities in the form of catastrophic wildfires, dangerous flooding, and prolonged drought— water is a vital resource in New Mexico,” said Senator Luján. “I’m pleased the Senate took strong bipartisan action to pass legislation to strengthen and maintain our water infrastructure and provide our communities with water that is safe to drink and use. Critically, this legislation also provides more opportunities for acequias to access cost-share relief and expands access for Tribal and Pueblo communities to receive federal investments to enhance their capacity to combat climate change and prolonged drought.”
Senator Luján helped champion the following provisions:
- Increased the Acequia Irrigation System section of WRDA by $27 million, and expanded program eligibility so that Tribes and Pueblos will be eligible to access this funding. Reduced the cost share from 75% federal, 25% non-federal to 90% federal, 10% non-federal for economically disadvantaged areas. This program is carried out by Army Corps and provides assistance so that parciantes can implement more resilient diversion structures and manage drought and invasive species, and support research, development, and training for water management solutions;
- Increased Section 593, the Program for Central New Mexico from $50 million to $100 million to ensure drinking, waste, and storm water projects in Bernalillo, Valencia, and Sandoval counties can employ infrastructure to address flooding and improve water quality;
- Increased the Western Rural Water program by $55 million to provide communities throughout the West, including New Mexico, with much needed funds for drinking, waste, and storm water projects;
- Reduced the cost share for the Middle Rio Grande Flood Protection project from 65% federal, 35% non-federal to 75% federal, 25% non-federal.