"Infrastructure Plan Lifts Tribes’ Hope of Turning on Water Taps"

"Navajo Nation resident Percy Deal hopes that federal coronavirus relief, coupled with $2.3 trillion for infrastructure in the American Jobs Plan, will give him something his grandparents and even his parents didn’t have—running water in his home.

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan is calling for the investment of $111 billion to modernize water systems, including $56 billion in grants and low-cost flexible loans to states, tribes, territories, and disadvantaged communities across the country.

Nearly half of the households on tribal lands throughout the nation—about a half a million people—lack access to reliable water sources, clean drinking water, and basic sanitation. Advocates roughly estimate that about $10 billion would be required to entirely solve the problem of access to water on tribal lands.

It remains to be seen how much of the needed amount for clean drinking water in Indian country will be included in the eventual legislation. But Native American officials and advocates say the potential funding represents an historic investment in new and existing tribal water infrastructure. It’s given them renewed hope for the capacity to lay pipes, drill wells, dig canals and repair water systems."

Tripp Baltz reports for Bloomberg Environment April 16, 2021.

Source: Bloomberg Environment, 04/16/2021