Reclamation announces $5.6M in Challenge Grants for water conservation in the West

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 5, 2009 -- Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner announced that it has awarded $4.6 million in Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants and $1 million in System Optimization Review Grants...

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 5, 2009 -- Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has awarded $4.6 million in Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants and $1 million in System Optimization Review Grants. Funding for these grants was provided in the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations.

"The more efficiently we use water, the more we are going to be able to meet the many demands being placed upon the water supply," said Commissioner Connor. "These Challenge Grants will help Reclamation and respective water entities improve water management to better address the challenges posed by drought, climate change, energy demands, expanding populations, and increased environmental needs."

Water Marketing and Efficiency Grants provide cost-shared funding on a competitive basis for on-the-ground construction projects that will create water markets and make more efficient use of existing water supplies.

An example of a Water Marketing and Efficiency Grant is the award to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. New Mexico will establish a water leasing market for the Mimbres River, including the design and implementation of a virtual market and installation of water meters. The total project cost is $1,059,755 with a contribution from Reclamation of $300,000. The state estimates the project will save 9,952 acre-feet of water annually.

System Optimization Reviews provide cost-shared funding on a competitive basis for an assessment of the potential for water management improvements in a basin or district. A report is also developed that identifies specific improvements to increase efficiency, including a plan of action for implementing the recommendations.

An example of a System Optimization Review Grant is the award to Tulare Irrigation District in California. They will perform a regional water management study for the optimization of surface and groundwater resources. The total project cost is $655,150 with a contribution from Reclamation of $300,000.

Proposals were received from water entities and recognized Tribes. Projects were ranked and points were awarded for those projects that propose water marketing or banking elements that will conserve water and improve efficiency, that will improve water management and that have reasonable costs for the benefits gained.

>> Click here for details on the Fiscal Year 2009 Challenge Grant Awards

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

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