On Sunday, August 7, the Senate approved a sweeping package known as the Inflation Reduction Act. The bill includes actions on climate change, health-care costs, corporate taxes, federal deficit, and — notably — drought resilience.
The most influential part of the bill is its effort to expand tax credits and create new tax credits for low-carbon energy development. This could influence the energy management procedures for water utilities nationwide. However, according to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), the bill also includes some major water provisions:
- $4 billion to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for drought relief programs
- $550 million for domestic water programs in disadvantaged communities
- $12.5 million for emergency drought funding for Tribes
"The Southwest is grappling with the worst megadrought in 1,200 years and staring down the possibility of a major water supply collapse on the Colorado River," said Chris Kuzdas, co-lead of the Water for Arizona coalition in a statement about the legislation. "Climate action is mission critical if we hope to retain our ability to work toward a water secure future for all people in Arizona and beyond. The Water for Arizona Coalition is encouraged to see climate action back on the table in the U.S. Congress.
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland also released a statement on the bill's passing: “As communities across the country continue to face extreme heat, intense storms and other climate impacts, now is the time to make bold investments. Today’s Senate vote advancing the Inflation Reduction Act is a significant step toward achieving President Biden’s ambitious goals to tackle the climate crisis while lowering costs for working families and creating good-paying jobs. The Department of the Interior will play a critical role in our nation’s path forward to reduce emissions, secure environmental justice, and develop a robust and sustainable clean energy economy.”
The House of Representatives will need to pass the bill before it can be signed by the President.