The first phase for the construction of a new reservoir in the Valenciano river and the expansion of the Valenciano Water Treatment Plant in Puerto Rico has been approved at a cost of over $18.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The new stream reservoir, located in the municipality of Juncos and an asset of the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), will have a capacity of 12.7 million cubic meters of water.
Pedro R. Pierluisi stated that the project authorized by FEMA responds to the impacts of climate change in order to have a resilient infrastructure for future weather events.
“We have worked hard to obtain the approval of funds for Phase 1 of this project. The Valenciano Reservoir project is a priority for my administration because it promotes quality of life and health for the nearly 140,000 residents living in Humacao, Caguas, Juncos, San Lorenzo, Las Piedras and Gurabo, in addition to improving water storage capacity, which will benefit the surrounding towns. I want to thank President Biden’s administration, as well as FEMA staff, for working closely with our government to achieve the approval of such an important project,” added Pierluisi.
Once the first phase is completed, which includes the procurement of engineering services, preliminary engineering design, environmental compliance and permitting processes, planning for land acquisition and final design and construction documents, FEMA will consider additional funding for Phase 2 at a cost of over $399 million.
“Residents in the area will benefit from this mitigation work, especially during drought conditions, when the existing potable water supply systems cannot meet the water demand for the area. When the project is completed, it will offer enough water storage and pumping capacity to ensure a steady water supply for the area,” said Deputy Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator Andrés García.
PRASA Executive President Doriel Pagán Crespo said that the efforts of her team and close collaboration have made this project a reality. “The Valenciano Reservoir is another of our priority projects, which will provide redundancy and flexibility in the potable water systems of these six municipalities. We thank Governor Pedro Pierluisi, FEMA and COR3 personnel for promoting and supporting this work,” Pagán Crespo said.
According to the executive director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, this approval is the result of a team effort between COR3, PRASA and FEMA.
“Our staff will continue to assist PRASA with all the required procedures to ensure the development of this major project that will address the drought situation caused by climate change that affects thousands of Puerto Ricans. Likewise, the public corporation will have access to the various initiatives we have implemented, such as the Working Capital Advance, which provides access to capital for the execution of projects under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program,” mentioned Laboy Rivera.
To date, FEMA has obligated over $29 billion under its Public Assistance program and an additional $1.6 billion has been approved under its Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to help increase the island’s resiliency through mitigation activities.