WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet welcomed the announcement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that $13.82 million in federal funding would be made available to support the Gold Hill Pipeline Project west of Greeley, Colorado, which will mitigate water shortages and enhance the responsiveness of Greeley’s water infrastructure to climate-related threats. This funding is made available through the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) national competition funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which will distribute $1.8 billion for resilience projects across the country.
“Greeley, and communities across Colorado, must confront the water management challenges posed by long-term aridification, accelerating wildfires, and severe floods,” said Hickenlooper. “Greeley’s water supplies will be better equipped for the challenges posed by climate change with this investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“From longer and more extreme wildfire seasons to intensifying drought, climate change is affecting Coloradans in every corner of our state,” said Bennet. “This funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow Greeley to ensure its water infrastructure can continue serving its residents into the future. I’ll continue fighting to help communities across Colorado protect critical water resources and make them more resilient to climate change.”
The city of Greeley currently relies on two treatment plants to supply water to over 150,000 residents, but the system is vulnerable to water shortages and rationing since the two plants are not connected. The Gold Hill Pipeline Project will build a pipeline for treated water to flow in two directions, closing the gap in the transmission network. This connection will increase flexibility in water management, better prepare the system for climate-related hazards, reduce shortages, and allow the city to benefit from diversified water sources.
“While this project is critical to Greeley, it will further Northern Colorado regional water resiliency that was tested following recent wildfire events such as the Cameron Peak Fire, and it will protect Greeley and its connected systems from unforeseen future disasters,” said Mayor John Gates, Mayor, City of Greeley. “Further, the new transmission line project will reduce costs of daily operations for the city reducing reliance on pumping to supply water to customers.”
“Our local and community partners are the first responders when extreme weather events unfold, and they are on the front lines of building our nation’s resilience to the impacts of climate change,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. “By investing today in strengthening our critical infrastructure, particularly for the most marginalized and vulnerable communities, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is going to keep Americans and their communities safer and more resilient.”
“From Hawaii to Maine, communities across the country are experiencing more frequent and intense severe weather events, resulting in devastating impacts to their homes, businesses, and families. Though FEMA will always help communities respond and recover to these disasters, it is also paramount to build resilience before disasters strike,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “Thanks to President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we can further our mission to help our state, local, territorial, and tribal partners build a more resilient nation.”
“Millions of Americans in communities big and small feel the effects of climate change each year from drought, extreme heat, wildfires and floods,” said Mitch Landrieu, Senior Adviser to the President and White House Infrastructure Coordinator. “President Biden’s Investing in America agenda provides the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history. These projects will be a lifeline for many communities as we build a stronger, more resilient America.”
Hickenlooper and Bennet worked to secure funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to invest in Colorado’s critical water infrastructure, including $350 million for flood risk reduction and aquatic ecosystem restoration projects along the South Platte River, $180 million to expedite construction of the Arkansas Valley Conduit, and over $68 million for aging water infrastructure projects in Colorado.