Water, energy projects in western states get WaterSMART grants

WASHINGTON, DC, May, 20, 2011 -- The Bureau of Reclamation has selected 54 new projects in western states to receive a total of $24 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants...

May 20th, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC, May, 20, 2011 -- The Bureau of Reclamation has selected 54 new projects in western states to receive a total of $24 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants.

Once funded and completed, these projects are expected to save an estimated 102,221 acre-feet of water each year, or enough water for more than 400,000 people.

Twenty-four of the projects are expected to save more than 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough electricity for more than 1,300 households.

Established in February 2010 by Secretary Salazar, the WaterSMART program facilitates the work of all bureaus of the Department of the Interior to pursue a sustainable water supply for the nation. It establishes a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of the various Interior offices.

The Bureau of Reclamation plays a leading role in the WaterSMART program as the Department's water management agency.

These newest WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant projects will leverage federal funding with non-federal cost share to complete more than $76 million in water management and delivery improvements. These projects will improve water management, increase energy efficiency in the delivery of water, facilitate water marketing projects, help to protect endangered and threatened species, and carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent water-related crisis and conflict.

The East Columbia Basin Irrigation Company in Washington, for example, will convert more than 85,000 feet of open ditch to pipelines to address seepage losses. The improvements are expected to result in a water savings of 7,850 acre-feet each year and energy savings of 4.3 million kilowatt-hours per year.

For a complete description of the 54 projects, visit: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=245807

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