Bennet, Udall Secure Funding in Appropriations Bill Draft that Can Benefit Arkansas Valley Conduit

Resources Follow Letter Senators Sent in March, Recent Meetings with Administration Officials

Continue to Push for Additional Resources to Move Project Forward 

The Senate Appropriations Committee released a draft energy and water funding bill today that includes an additional $90 million to support water infrastructure projects nationwide such as the Arkansas Valley Conduit, in part at the request of Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall. The senators have repeatedly urged the committee to support more resources for the programs, most recently sending a letter to the Committee in March outlining the critical need for more resources for the project.

The Committee also included a provision that explicitly makes data collection and design work eligible for funding through these accounts. It will help ensure the Arkansas Valley Conduit is eligible for these funds and send a clear signal to the Bureau of Reclamation that the conduit is a priority project.

“For more than five decades, folks in southeastern Colorado have been waiting for the federal government to fulfill its promise to build the Arkansas Valley Conduit. That’s far too long for these communities to wait for a reliable source of clean drinking water,” Bennet said. “Thanks to the hard work of the Appropriations Committee, this bill includes significant resources that could help get the conduit closer to construction. We’ll continue to work with the committee and the administration to ensure this project gets the funding it needs.”

“I have been proud to work for years to ensure the federal government supports the Arkansas Valley Conduit. This funding brings the people of southeastern Colorado one step closer to having a clean, safe and reliable source of water,” Udall said. “I will continue to fight to ensure the full U.S. Senate supports this critical project — and all efforts in Colorado to smartly develop and conserve our water.”

Last month, Bennet and Udall met with Deputy Interior Secretary Mike Connor, the acting commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, and top officials from the Office of Management and Budget to press the administration on the urgent need for more resources for the conduit in FY 2015 and the coming years to accelerate the progress toward construction.

Bennet and Udall have led efforts to secure resources and move forward with the construction of the conduit. In addition to advocating for quick approval of the project’s environmental study, the senators have written to the Department of Interior and the Appropriations Committees to provide adequate resources for construction of the Conduit in future federal budgets.

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, a water diversion and storage project in the lower Arkansas Valley. Once constructed, the Conduit will deliver clean drinking water to families, producers and municipalities throughout Southeastern Colorado. Bennet and Udall worked together to enact legislation in 2009 authorizing the construction of the Conduit, and have pushed ever since for funding to keep the project on schedule.