Kempthorne approves $4.5M in water conservation grants for the West

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne has approved $4.5 million in new Water 2025 Challenge Grants for water conservation projects across the West. Including the matching contributions of non-federal partners, the selected projects represent a combined investment of more than $31.8 million in water management improvements. The agencies and groups that proposed the 15 projects will now work with Reclamation to secure cooperative agreements and complete regulatory processes...

Aug 19th, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 13, 2008 -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced that he has approved $4.5 million in new Water 2025 Challenge Grants for water conservation projects across the West.

"These grants will help quench the West's thirst for water in eight states by providing funds to 15 projects that will improve the efficient use of existing water supplies," Secretary Kempthorne said. "The variety of projects includes water conservation, efficiency and water market projects and demonstrates the importance of this Bureau of Reclamation program in looking toward future water needs."

Including the matching contributions of non-federal partners, the selected projects represent a combined investment of more than $31.8 million in water management improvements.

An example of a project that will create or expand water markets was awarded to the Irvine Ranch Water District in California. The district will develop groundwater banking facilities on the Strand Ranch, which will help reduce conflict caused by reduced imported supplies during dry years; and will better-manage up to 17,500 acre-feet per year. The total project cost is $15 million, including a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.

The agencies and groups that proposed the 15 projects will now work with Reclamation to secure cooperative agreements and complete regulatory processes. Groundbreaking on the projects is expected by the end of September. They must be completed within two years. More information on Water 2025 is at www.doi.gov/water2025.

In the future, Challenge Grant opportunities will be part of the Department of the Interior's Water for America initiative, focused on addressing 21st century water challenges and securing water resources for future generations.

The Bureau of Reclamation will focus its efforts on two of the three strategies of Water for America--"Plan for our Nation's Water Future" and "Expand, Protect, and Conserve our Nation's Water Resources." The U.S. Geological Survey, another Interior agency, will work on the third strategy to "Enhance our Nation's Water Knowledge."

Through these three strategies, the Water for America Initiative will provide the vision and leadership necessary to improve sustainable western water supplies for the 21st century. Reclamation has released the Water for America Implementation Plan for review and comment. The plan is available at http://www.usbr.gov/wfa/. Comments are requested by Aug. 18, 2008.

Click here for the list and descriptions of the grants.

Also see:
-- "Kempthorne approves $140 million in conservation, recreation and capital improvements for Nevada and Lake Tahoe"
-- "Soboba water rights settlement will stimulate tribal development, help restore San Jacinto River Basin"

###

More in Drinking Water