June 16, 2024 9:01 pm
Close this search box.

Local News

Lake Mead to benefit from $99M grant for water recycling project

Credit: iStock

Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
May 29, 2024

Federal resource managers announced $99 million in funding for a large-scale water recycling project that will save enough water in Lake Mead to serve nearly 500,000 households in Southern California and Southern Nevada annually.

The Department of the Interior announced Tuesday that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will receive millions in funding for the planning and design of the state’s Pure Water Southern California facility, a planned regional large-scale water recycling project.

When completed, the Pure Water project will produce 150 million gallons of purified water every day, enough to meet the demands of 470,000 households in Southern California and Southern Nevada annually. That water would be piped for industrial use and to replenish groundwater basins, which provide well water.

Construction could begin as soon as 2026 and the first water could be delivered in 2032, according to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The project is a partnership between the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to create reliable and resilient water supplies for Southern California and Nevada, reduce demand on the Colorado River, and keep water in Lake Mead.

In 2021, the Southern Nevada Water Authority agreed to invest $750 million into the water recycling project. In return for the investment, Southern Nevada will get a share of California’s water in Lake Mead. The Southern Nevada Water Authority also agreed to invest $6 million for environmental planning of the project.

“Water is essential to everything we do,” said Secretary Deb Haaland in a statement Tuesday. “As the climate crisis drives severe drought conditions across the West, it will take all of us working together to safeguard our communities and enhance water reliability.”

Southern Nevada water users consume 89 gallons per person per day. Projected growth for the region can only remain sustainable if water use is cut to 86 gallons per person per day by 2035, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority. State water managers have said water recycling will play a major role in reaching those sustainability projections.

Lake Mead is currently only at 36% capacity due to decades of drought in the west and the Upper Colorado Basin, a major water source for the Colorado River and the reservoir. 

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton made the announcement during a visit to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Tuesday, where she announced a total of $179 million in funding for water recycling and drought resilience projects for four projects in California and Utah.

Over the next five years, the Bureau of Reclamation will invest $8.3 billion for water infrastructure projects in western states, including water storage, conservation, water purification, and water recycling. Since the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was signed in November 2021, Reclamation has announced more than $3.5 billion for more than 530 projects. 

“These historic investments will add a significant tool to our toolbox to bolster drought resilience in communities across the country,” said Touton in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto praised the funding Tuesday. Cortez Masto pushed for securing funding for the Department of the Interior’s large-scale water recycling program as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“Addressing drought in the West and protecting Nevada’s water supply will require all of us to work together on innovative, sustainable solutions,” said Cortez Masto in a statement.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Nevada Current under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.