Every New Mexican needs water.
As extreme drought threatens the American West, the Biden administration’s budget request to “create jobs improving critical water infrastructure” invigorates long-needed attention and funding to New Mexico’s water management and infrastructure.
The request for fiscal 2022 includes $3.6 billion to “be used to advance water infrastructure improvement efforts for community water systems, schools and households.”
The budget also boosts the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to monitor and control our nation’s water more effectively. Remember that the EPA doesn’t just support water quality regulation but helps manage a wide variety of infrastructure projects, like the current Pojoaque Riverbank Stabilization Project, for example.
“The FY 2022 President’s Budget proposes the investments needed to advance EPA’s mission across the board. … and importantly, makes sure all EPA offices have the operational budgets and workforces they need to deliver for the American people,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan.
Large operators, like the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, need federal assistance to deal with the new challenges they face because of the drought.
Perhaps more critically important is our rural infrastructure. The small community co-ops and rural water providers, like Cañoncito at Apache Canyon Mutual Domestic Water Association as reported by the Journal North on May 30 (and Journal on A1 June 7 – read it at ABQJournal.com), will be positively affected by this funding request as well. Small, rural suppliers lack the resources of an organization the size of ABCWUA.
The Biden budget request considers rural communities’ infrastructure needs. This is important for New Mexicans, particularly in time of extreme drought in which watersheds and groundwater supplies are seeing massive reductions in surface and groundwater recharge.
Citizens of all stripes should contact their local, county, state and federal representatives to ensure they fight for New Mexicans’ water infrastructure needs and support the FY2022 water infrastructure proposals in the Biden budget request.