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Funding for multiple major water infrastructure projects with federal ARPA and state surplus funds approved

HAILEY, Idaho (KIFI) – The Idaho Water Resource Board voted to spend approximately $87 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds on a number of major water infrastructure projects statewide in its regular meeting on Friday held at the Community Campus in Hailey.

The board authorized spending $72.9 million to pay for the state’s share of the cost to raise Anderson Ranch Dam by six feet to create an additional 29,000 acre-feet of storage wate, $8.3 million for two, new Upper Snake Basin aquifer-recharge projects to benefit the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) and $5 million for the initial costs associated with design and contracting the Mountain Home Water Resiliency project, a pump station and pipeline from the Snake River to the Mountain Home Air Force Base for municipal water supply.

The board also authorized $12.5 million in grant funding for 12 Aging Infrastructure Projects and approved six low-interest loans totaling $18.1 million to assist irrigation entities with the aging infrastructure projects.

The Idaho Water Resource Board received 31 applications for the first go-round of the Aging Infrastructure Grant program, and 16 applications for low-interest loans to cover costs in replacing aging irrigation infrastructure projects. All of the projects were ranked and scored by staff, following the evaluation criteria approved by the Board. Several irrigation entities applied for and received a combination of grant and loan funds.

For example, Enterprize Canal Company received a $2.73 million Aging Infrastructure Grant and a $6.3 million low-interest loan to finance the rehabilitation of its water-conveyance system. Enterprize delivers water to 5,436 acres of farmland in Bonneville and Jefferson counties.

“Thank you,” said an emotional Darrell Kerr with Enterprize Canal Company, based in Ririe. “This is critical for our well-being.”

During the 2022 session, the Idaho Legislature appropriated $75 million to the Idaho Water Resource Board to be “used for expenditures, loans, or grants for water projects, including studies, to address water sustainability, rehabilitate or improve aging water infrastructure or support flood management.”

House Bill 769 provided that “no more than one-third of these moneys shall be used for grants.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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