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Congresswoman Lee, NV Congressional Delegation Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Recover Millions in Unused Funding for Hoover Dam


Congresswoman Lee, NV Congressional Delegation Lead Bipartisan Legislation to Recover Millions in Unused Funding for Hoover Dam

 

Original Cosponsors Include Reps. Amodei, Horsford, & Titus, Sens. Cortez Masto & Rosen

 

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-03) and Republican co-lead Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Help Hoover Dam Act to allow the Bureau of Reclamation to access $45 million in unused, long-stranded funds for Hoover Dam operations, maintenance, and improvement projects.  

 

$45 million in the Colorado River Dam fund has been inaccessible for decades due to bureaucracy and federal red tape. This bipartisan legislation will invest these funds in the Hoover Dam — helping save taxpayer dollars, protect Western water and other natural resources, and strengthen a key source of Nevada’s energy. 40 million people depend on the Colorado River for water and 1.3 million depend on the Hoover Dam for electricity.

 

The Senate companion legislation was introduced by Senator Kyrsten Sinema and cosponsored by every senator from Nevada, Arizona, and California. The House legislation is cosponsored by every representative from Nevada and Reps. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06), Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), Paul Gosar (AZ-09), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), Greg Stanton (AZ-4), and Grace Napolitano (CA-31). 

 

The Help Hoover Dam Act is endorsed by the American Public Power Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the Irrigation and Electrical Districts Association of Arizona, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and others. 

 

“I am proud to lead the bipartisan, bicameral Help Hoover Dam Act in the House to cut through federal red tape and free tens of millions of dollars in long-stranded funding for Hoover Dam improvement projects,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee (NV-3), lead House sponsor of the Help Hoover Dam Act. “We can’t let government bureaucracy stop us from making necessary investments in the Hoover Dam — Nevadans depend on it for clean power, precious water resources, and countless recreational opportunities. This commonsense, bipartisan legislation will help keep our energy prices from going up, protect our natural resources, and save taxpayers money.” 

 

“Under the leadership of our esteemed Congressional delegation, Nevada has taken a significant step forward with the Help Hoover Dam Act,” said Eric Witkoski, Executive Director of the Colorado River Commission of Nevada. “This collaborative effort, which provides necessary tools to access critical funding resources for the Hoover Dam, is a testament to their dedication to our state’s sustainable energy and water resources. The Colorado River Commission of Nevada commends their unified approach in securing the future of this vital infrastructure, crucial for both renewable energy and water stability in the Southwest.” 

 

“The Hoover Dam provides electricity to thousands of households in Nevada, and this commonsense legislation will strengthen its sustainability and resilience for generations to come,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto. “Cutting through red tape and freeing up stranded funds will allow the Bureau of Reclamation to revitalize and preserve the Hoover Dam while keeping prices low for Nevada families. I’ll continue working to deliver resources to protect our water supply, upgrade our infrastructure, and make sure Nevada stays at the center of our clean energy future.” 

 

“The Hoover Dam generates clean energy and helps support local Nevada communities, but bureaucracy in Washington is holding back millions of dollars in funding for critical repairs,” said Senator Rosen (D-NV). “I’m proud to help introduce this legislation to cut through red tape and allow these funds – which have been inaccessible for decades – to be used to support the Hoover Dam and prevent unnecessary rate hikes for Nevadans.” 

 

“I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to cut through the red tape and deliver for the people of Nevada, Arizona and our region overall. The Hoover Dam is an essential part of our energy and water infrastructure, and it’s important we do everything necessary to maintain and upgrade its functionality. This will result in more reliable clean water and clean energy production for our region while lowering prices for all households,” said Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04). 

 

“Hoover Dam is known for providing water and hydroelectric power to millions of users along the Colorado River, as well as being an iconic attraction for tourists to Southern Nevada. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation which will free up needed funding for operation and maintenance costs and ensure the continued viability of this Western icon,” said Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-01). 

 

“Our legislation supporting Hoover Dam’s maintenance and preservation projects strengthens Arizona’s electrical grid – providing Arizonans with affordable and reliable energy,” said Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ). 

 

“For the Hoover Dam to remain a dependable power source for Arizona, it’s essential that we take every step possible to secure the dam’s future. I’m proud to support this commonsense solution,” said Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ).  

 

“The Hoover Dam provides affordable, clean hydropower for hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents,” said Senator Padilla (D-CA). “As the Southwest recovers from years of historic drought, freeing up millions of dollars in inaccessible funds for Hoover Dam will support a more resilient, secure electric grid throughout the region.” 

 

“Passing the Help Hoover Dam Act would enable us to secure the funds needed to keep these generators running which would result in cheaper, reliable energy for California and reduced harm on the environment,” said Senator Laphonza Butler (D-CA).  

 

“Arizonans rely on the nearly 100-year-old Hoover Dam to store precious Colorado River water, generate affordable electricity and protect against dangerous flooding,” said Congressman Greg Stanton (AZ-04). “Our bipartisan, common-sense legislation unlocks needed federal funds for operations, maintenance and improvement so it can continue to serve Arizonans for generations to come.” 

“The Hoover Dam is critical to Arizona’s water supply and electric grid reliability, making it vital to our state’s growth and economic prosperity. I’m proud to back this bill to ensure its continued success,” said Congressman Ruben Gallego (AZ-03).   

 

“Much of the prosperity and development we enjoy in California and the Southwest today would not have been possible without the water and electricity supplied by the Hoover Dam,” said Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (CA-31). “With strained resources worsened by ongoing drought cycles, the Help Hoover Dam Act will ensure continued delivery of water and power for generations to come, while requiring zero additional federal dollars. I am proud to join Congresswoman Lee and all of our colleagues in introducing this critically-needed legislation.” 

Responses to Interior Department Announces Actions to Protect Colorado River System

On August 16, 2022, Reclamation issued its August 24-month study that is relied upon to determine operations for the upcoming water year for both Lakes Mead and Powell. The states in the lower basin were unable to reach an agreement for further cuts in the consumptive use of Colorado River water. The reductions mentioned by Reclamation in today’s announcement are those that were already put in place under the 2007 Interim Guidelines and the DCP.

SNWA and CRCNV letter

SNWA issued a letter on Monday, August 15, 2022, calling for the Secretary of the Interior to take further action given the lack of agreement among the states in the lower basin to further reduce consumptive uses. The letter is attached. The CRCNV also sent a letter to the Secretary of the Interior, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science and Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation on August 16, 2022, echoing SNWA’s concerns and the need for further action. That letter is also attached.

Summary of Reclamation’s August 24 month study and links

Pursuant to the August 24 month study, Lake Mead is projected to be below 1,050 feet and above 1,045 feet, on January 1, 2023, indicating a Level 2a Shortage Condition for the lower basin.

As a result, Nevada will have a 17,000 acre-feet reduction from the 2007 Interim Guidelines and an 8,000 acre-feet Drought Contingency Plan contribution in calendar year 2023. The reductions for a Level 2a Shortage Condition are highlighted in Figure 1 below. It should be noted, even with the reductions, Nevada’s consumptive use will still be below its remaining allocation and have the ability to bank the excess.

The August 24 Month Study projected the January 1, 2023, elevation for Lake Powell to be below 3,525 feet elevation indicating next year will be operated in the Lower Elevation Balancing Tier with an initial release of 7.0 million acre-feet.

Figure 1. The reductions for a Level 2a Shortage in calendar year 2023.

Below are press releases from Reclamation related to the 24 month study.

Reclamation Press Release:
https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/#/news-release/4294

The August 24 Month Study:
https://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/24mo/2022/AUG22.pdf

SNWA's Letter

Colorado River Commission of Nevada's Letter

The Value of Hydropower - Why We Need Hydropower for a Resilient GridDrought and Colorado River Declared Shortage

Southern Nevada relies on the water stored behind our iconic Hoover Dam in Lake Mead to supply our region with drinking water, as well as water for various other uses. Over the last 20 years, the Colorado River has suffered the worst drought in history causing Lake Mead to decline to unprecedented levels. Due to the prolonged lack of precipitation, low snowpack, dry soil conditions and increasing temperatures, the residents and industries located in the lower region of the Colorado River Basin, including Southern Nevada, will have the first ever shortage in 2022.

For more information, please visit our Drought and Colorado River Declared Shortage page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our Water Supply

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness, like the flu, which is spread person to person—there is no indication that transmission can occur via drinking water supplies.

The Colorado River Commission of Nevada does not anticipate any current scenario that would interrupt water availability to our community.

Information about water quality can be found at the Southern Nevada Water Authority webpage.

Information about COVID-19 prevention and treatment can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

CRC no longer has responsibility for developing land near Laughlin, Nevada