Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López has announced the selection of 23 projects to receive grants totaling $5.2 million for proactive drought planning and other efforts to build long-term drought resiliency in nine states in the West.
“The western United States has faced an unprecedented drought this year and will face many more water challenges in the future,” Commissioner López said. “This funding will help the selected communities prepare for future droughts.”
Through a competitive process, Reclamation selected 12 drought resiliency projects and 11 drought contingency planning projects in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington.
Drought resiliency projects, also referred to as ‘mitigation actions,’ help communities prepare for and respond to drought. The 12 drought resiliency projects will receive a total of $3.4 million.
Of the $3.4 million set aside for drought resiliency projects, the Merced Irrigation District in California will receive $297,977 to develop a real-time simulation water management model that will help the district analyze, predict and respond to drought conditions. The district will also install two weather stations and two river gage stations to collect water supply data on precipitation, flows, temperature and system losses.
Drought contingency plans help communities recognize drought in its early stages, identify the effects of drought and conduct drought prevention activities. Reclamation also selected 11 drought contingency planning projects to receive a total of $1.8 million.
In California, $200,000 is going to the East Bay Municipal Utility District for the Bay Area Regional Reliability Drought Contingency Plan. The utility district will work with other regional water management agencies within the Bay Area to develop a drought contingency plan to improve water supply reliability during times of shortage.
For more than 100 years, Reclamation and its partners have worked to develop a sustainable water and power future for the West. This drought response program is part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART Program, which focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability, while helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use.
To find out more information about the WaterSMART program, visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart.
For more about the Reclamation’s Drought Response Program or selected projects, please visit http://www.usbr.gov/drought.