Photo of Lake Powell, Arizona via Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr CC
The EPA has decided to hand over $82 million in Recovery Act funds to Arizona for water projects that will hopefully create jobs, give a sugar shot to local economies, and update old water and wastewater infrastructure. It's one small chunk of $6 billion dollars in funds that will go to water and wastewater infrastructure projects across the country through low-interest loans, principal forgiveness and grants. It's a big push for more sustainable and energy efficient drinking water and wastewater systems, and in a state like Arizona that is dependent upon water routed from threatened rivers, sustainable and effective water systems are a must. The monies will be distributed as:
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $26.4 million. It provides low-interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management.
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program will receive $55.3 million. It provides low-interest loans for drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
EPA is also awarding $267,400 in Recovery Act funds for Water Quality Management Planning (WQMP) in Arizona. Planning is an important step in EPA's goal to improve water quality in America's lakes, rivers and streams.
Arizona is definitely in need of funds to update their infrastructure and ensure drinking water. However, there's a slight worry about how funds will be spent, considering the impending shortage of water is sparking some sketchy ideas. From the Arizona Republic:
With the threat of a shortage looming, Arizona and CAP officials had pushed proposals to add water to the river's flow. Among the plans under review are cloud-seeding, injecting salt or other substances into storm clouds to increase rain or snow; the use of desalination plants for seawater and brackish groundwater; and efficiency measures such as lining canals to keep water from seeping into the ground.
Humm....It doesn't take much scratching at the surface to uncover some serious ecological side effects associated with these ideas. It's something to keep an eye on.
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