The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) has released a list of projects (see attached) to be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The Act includes $220 million for USIBWC projects. The USIBWC list includes levee rehabilitation in the Upper and Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Projects in Doña Ana County in New Mexico, and El Paso, Hudspeth, and Hidalgo Counties in Texas.
The USIBWC has identified the need to raise levee height and make structural repairs to ensure the levees provide adequate protection during the 100-year flood, a flood that has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. The levee rehabilitation is intended to meet standards established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). U.S. Section hydraulic modeling and geotechnical analysis have identified levee segments where there are height deficiencies or structural weaknesses that could lead to levee failure during a flood. The USIBWC has also undertaken required environmental studies. The Recovery Act funding will allow rehabilitation of approximately 170 miles of levees, including Rio Grande levees and levees in the interior floodways in the Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project.
“With this funding, we will be able to rehabilitate most of our deficient levees in just two to three years,” said U.S. Commissioner C.W. “Bill” Ruth. “At previous funding levels, we were looking at a 20-year project to complete the work.”
As required by the Act, the USIBWC will contract out the work using competitive bidding to the maximum extent possible. Information about contracting opportunities will be available at: www.FedBizOpps.gov. The USIBWC expects the funds to create over 300 jobs working directly on levee rehabilitation activities. The USIBWC will provide regular updates on its planning and spending of Recovery Act funds at www.recovery.gov and www.state.gov/recovery.