Funding to help CA communities stretch water supplies, deal with drought

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WASHINGTON, DC, May 30, 2014 -- As part of the Obama Administration's continued effort to bring relief to communities across the state of California affected by the enduring drought, the U.S. Department of Interior recently announced that the Bureau of Reclamation will invest $20 million in nine water reclamation and reuse projects throughout the region.

"Climate change impacts are being felt across the landscape in California, but we can bring some relief to the drought-stricken region through innovative efforts that will provide communities with a new source of water, support jobs and stretch their limited water supplies," said Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell. "The National Climate Assessment that was just released warns that heat, drought and competition for water supplies will only increase in California with continued climate change, making water reclamation and reuse an important tool in our efforts to combat climate change."

The Interior's WaterSMART Program provided the funding for the California projects under Title XVI of the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Study and Facilities Act. Through the Title XVI program, Interior's Bureau of Reclamation provides funding for projects that reclaim and reuse municipal, industrial, domestic, or agricultural wastewater and naturally-impaired ground or surface waters. The nine projects in California will receive cost-shared funding for planning, design and construction of their projects.

WaterSMART is the Interior's sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided more than $180 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities through WaterSMART Grants and the Title XVI Program.

"Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation helps local communities invest in modern water conservation and other infrastructure projects across the West," said Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley. "Through comprehensive Title XVI efforts, we helped conserve nearly 390,000 acre feet of water in 2013 -- enough to supply 1.5 million people with water for an entire year."

Proposals were ranked through a published set of criteria in which points were awarded for projects that effectively stretch water supplies and contribute to water supply sustainability; address water quality concerns or benefit endangered species; incorporate the use of renewable energy or address energy efficiency; deliver water at a reasonable cost relative to other water supply options; and meet other program goals.

See also:

"NM, CA water reuse projects to receive $15.6M through Interior's WaterSMART program"

"WaterSMART funding available for entities seeking to establish, expand watershed groups"

"Water management in U.S. improved by WaterSMART programs"

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