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Gardner Secures $28 Million for the Arkansas Valley Conduit

 

Funds will be used to begin construction of critical drinking water infrastructure project in Southeastern Colorado

Washington, D.C. – Today U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced he secured $28 million of funding for the Arkansas Valley Conduit (AVC) project, which will be provided by the Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation’s Fiscal Year 2020 work plan.

“Today I am proud to announce that I have secured significant funding to start construction on the Arkansas Valley Conduit for the first time since Congress authorized the project and President Kennedy promised completion nearly six decades ago,” said Senator Gardner. “The communities of the Lower Arkansas Valley deserve clean drinking water, which the Arkansas Valley Conduit will supply for generations to come. This is the first time robust federal funding of $28 million has been dedicated to the project which will help finish final design, pre-construction costs, and begin construction to get to the first community in need. I’m grateful to President Trump, Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Vought, Department of the Interior Secretary Bernhardt, and the leadership of the Bureau of Reclamation for working with me to deliver such a strong federal funding commitment.”

Currently there are approximately 50,000 individuals in Southeast Colorado who have contaminated groundwater. The Arkansas Valley Conduit project, which was authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1962, will deliver clean drinking water to local communities across the region upon completion.

(Editor’s Note)

Senator Gardner spoke with The Prowers Journal regarding the project, stating the funding would be for ‘shovel in the ground’ work linking Boone, Colorado with the Pueblo Reservoir. The project would carry potable water through the above ground conduit from Pueblo to Lamar. The cost, $360 million, was made several years ago. Details on the actual construction process will be forthcoming at a later date. Senator Gardner expressed his convictions that the rural areas of Colorado should never be given lesser priority than the Front Range when construction projects of this nature stand to benefit the entire population of the state.

Background:

  • In December 2019 Gardner secured language in the year-end spending package that continues to advocate for the construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit, and allowed for Bureau of Reclamation’s flexibility to use additional funding towards the project in Fiscal Year 2020.
  • In October 2019, Senators Gardner and Bennet and Representatives Tipton and Buck wrote to Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt expressing that funding the Arkansas Valley Conduit is a top priority for them and requested the administration support the project.
  • At Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt’s confirmation hearing in May 2017, Gardner spoke about the importance of the Arkansas Valley Conduit and secured Bernhardt’s commitment to working with the Colorado delegation to finance the Arkansas Valley Conduit.
  • In July 2016, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved a bill Gardner authored that would extend greater flexibility to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District by allowing the maximum use of miscellaneous revenue collected from the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project to be immediately reinvested into the Arkansas Valley Conduit once construction begins.
  • In May 2016, Bent County Commissioner and President of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Board of Directors Bill Long testified at the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee’s Water and Power Subcommittee hearing in support of Gardner’s legislation to extend greater flexibility to the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District and support the Arkansas Valley Conduit.

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseThe Journal AlertUtilitiesWater

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