Bay-Delta water efficiency projects get funding from federal agencies

WASHINGTON, DC, May 19, 2011 -- Agencies of the USDA and the Department of the Interior are providing $9.1 million in funding to five water/power delivery districts in California's Central Valley to save water, improve water management and create new supplies for agricultural irrigation...

May 19th, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, May 19, 2011 -- Agencies of the USDA and the Department of the Interior are providing $9.1 million in funding to five water/power delivery districts in California's Central Valley to save water, improve water management and create new supplies for agricultural irrigation.

Deputy Secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement.

The cooperative pilot program to fund water use efficiency projects is being launched by the Bureau of Reclamation, an agency of the DOI, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) -- part of the Department of Agriculture. It is a result of the 2009 Interim Federal Action Plan for the Bay Delta.

"This cooperative effort is a concrete step forward in coordinating and leveraging federal actions to meet water supply needs while alleviating the ecological decline of the California Bay-Delta," Deputy Secretary Hayes said.

"USDA and Interior are working in tandem with partners in the Central Valley to ensure that water management and conservation efforts enhance water supplies for both rural and urban users," Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. The announcement, she said, "exemplifies President Obama's call to find creative and innovative ways for government to work better together."

Five projects have been selected for $4.1 million in funding from Reclamation's WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) program. These projects will increase district-level efficiencies and facilitate water conservation and/or water use efficiency on farms.

An additional $5 million is coming from NRCS to provide money and technical assistance to growers in the selected districts for eligible on-farm conservation practices.

The five recipients of the funding include the Buena Vista Water Storage District, South San Joaquin Irrigation District, Semitropic Water Storage District, Henry Miller Reclamation District 2131, and the Firebaugh Canal Water District.

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