On March 17, 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded $42.4 million in grants to 55 water infrastructure renovation projects throughout 13 states. These projects will improve both water supply and hydropower supply reliability for these communities. The projects are anticipated to conserve more than 98,000 acre-feet of water per year.
“Improving water and energy efficiencies is one-way Reclamation is using its resources to provide communities in the West the ability to be resilient to climate change, because conserving water is also saving energy,” said Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton.
These grants support President Biden‘s new Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. These grants will help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change and conserve water.
The selected projects are in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Projects include canal lining and piping to reduce seepage losses; installation of advanced metering, automated gates, and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems to improve water management; and programs in urban areas to install residential water meters.
The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation located in central Washington will receive $570,965 to convert more than 15,000 feet of earthen canals to PVC pipe. The project will improve water use efficiency and reliability through optimal flow rates, reduced leakages and operational losses. The project is expected to result in an annual water savings of 1,504 acre-feet remaining in the system supporting the other needs within the irrigation project.
The Greenfields Irrigation District in Teton County, Montana, will receive $1.9 million to replace a concrete drop structure with an 11-foot diameter penstock and turbine with a planned capacity of 2,400 kilowatts. The project is also expected to save 1,190 acre-feet of water currently lost to seepage. The water saved will remain in the Sun River, improving flows for fish and recreation.
In California, near the Arizona border, the Bard Water District will receive $1.1 million to complete a canal lining and piping project. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 701 acre-feet, which will remain in the Colorado River system for other uses. Once completed, the project will also better position farmers to work with Natural Resources Conservation Service‘s Environmental Quality Incentives Program to improve on-farm irrigation systems.
Some projects complement on-farm irrigation improvements that can be carried out with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to accomplish coordinated water conservation improvements.
“Infrastructure modernization is critical to enable agricultural producers to make additional improvements on their land,” said Astor Boozer, Regional Conservationist for NRCS’s western operations. “Using EQIP-WaterSMART Initiative assistance to reduce water losses and use irrigation water efficiently allows farmers to complement WEEG funded projects and to conserve additional water for prolonged droughts.”
Reclamation is currently working on revisions to the 2022 Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity and is planning to provide an opportunity for public comment later this year.
Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities to plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart to learn more.
The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior. It’s the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier, and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power. The Bureau claims that its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits.