Proposed federal budget could add $8 million to Arkansas Valley water project

PICT Pueblo Reservoir Dam - CPW
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2020

By Derek Draplin | The Center Square

A project to deliver clean drinking water to communities in southeastern Colorado could receive an additional $8 million in federal funding after it was announced last week that it would receive $28 million from Congress. 

The additional funding for the long-awaited Arkansas Valley Conduit project is included in President Donald Trump's proposed budget for fiscal year 2021, which was released Monday, pending congressional approval.

"It is very gratifying to see funding for the AVC beginning to flow as we prepare for construction," Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District President Bill Long said in a statement. "Years of hard work have gone into this project, both by the District and Reclamation. The AVC was envisioned by far-sighted people more than 60 years ago, just as our efforts today will benefit future generations."

First authorized by Congress in 1963, the project would deliver clean water to 50,000 residents in 40 communities in Colorado's southeastern corner but never came to fruition.

Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District, a sponsor of the project, said it's projected to cost between $564 million and $610 million, which will be split between local, state and federal funding.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, announced last week that $28 million in federal funding for the project had been secured to "help finish final design, pre-construction costs, and begin construction to get to the first community in need," he said in a statement. 

"The communities of the Lower Arkansas Valley deserve clean drinking water, which the Arkansas Valley Conduit will supply for generations to come," Gardner said.

The project would also receive $100 million in state funding, which the Colorado Conservation Board approved in November, pending the state legislature's approval.

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