Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Water in the West: Can Biden's infrastructure act help restore it?

Water levels at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, have fallen to record lows. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Water levels at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir on the Colorado River, have fallen to record lows. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Climate change, the megadrought and dated infrastructure have taken a toll on water systems in the Western United States.

“We’ve seen the river drop by 20% since the year 2000,” Kyle Roerink says. “It’s reasonable to think that its flows are going to decline by another 20% in the coming years.”

The new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act contains $8 billion in funding to restore Western water systems.

“There’s something for everybody. But it’s going to come with some hard realities,” Roerink says.

Hard realities that include details over how the money will be used, won’t be used, and what difference it will make, if any, when the biggest problem is the basic lack of water.

Today, On Point: Infrastructure and water in the West.

Guests

Richard White, professor of American history, emeritus at Stanford University.

Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network. (@KyleRoerink1)

Also Featured

Tanya Trujillo, assistant secretary for water and science at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Bidtah Becker, Navajo Nation member and lead member of the Water and Tribes Initiative. (@BNBecker)

Bart Fisher, owner and manager of Fisher Ranch in Blythe, CA.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.