Department of the Interior
|Office of the Secretary||Contact: Trudy Harlow 202-513-0574|
|For Immediate Release, May 5, 2005||Frank Quimby 202-208-6416|
Secretary Norton Awards $9.9 Million in Grants
for Water Conservation Projects in the West
WASHINGTON -- Interior Secretary Gale Norton has approved $9.9 million in Water 2025 Challenge Grants for water conservation projects across the West. The grants will help to fund 43 projects in 13 states. Including the matching contributions of non-federal partners, the selected projects represent a combined investment of more than $27 million in water improvements.
"Western states are facing some hard realities," Norton said. "Explosive population growth, chronic water shortages -- particularly during this time of drought -- environmental needs, over-allocated watersheds, and aging water facilities -- all combine to create opportunities for crisis and conflict."
"Crisis management is not effective in dealing with water conflicts," Norton continued. "These competitive grants support realistic and cooperative local approaches to stretch existing supplies and improve aging facilities and help prevent conflict over our limited water resources in the West."
These grants from the Bureau of Reclamation will fund a variety of projects that will make more efficient use of existing water supplies through water conservation, efficiency and water market projects. The Challenge Grants Program focuses on meeting the goals identified in Water 2025: Preventing Crises and Conflict in the West.
Water 2025 encourages voluntary water banks and other market-based measures as authorized under state law, promotes the use of new technology for water conservation and efficiency, and removes institutional barriers to increase cooperation and collaboration among federal, state, tribal and private organizations.
In New Mexico, for example, the Elephant Butte Irrigation District will install 100 flow control meters to better manage and monitor water deliveries to farms. This
project could save up to 8,000 acre-feet of water a year. An acre-foot of water is enough for a family of four for a year.
In Oregon, the East Fork Irrigation District will construct a one-mile pipe to complete the middle phase of the new Central Canal Pipeline, thereby saving up to 1,745 acre-feet of water every year and benefiting a threatened steelhead run.
The Sevier River Water Users Association in Utah will expand and enhance their real-time monitoring and control system to better manage water deliveries. The project is estimated to save up to 22,500 acre-feet of water.
The agencies and groups that proposed the 43 selected projects will now work with Reclamation to secure a cooperative agreement and complete regulatory processes. Groundbreaking on the projects is anticipated before the end of the fiscal year, and they must be completed in 24 months.
More information on the Water 2025 initiative is at: http://www.doi.gov/initiatives/water2025.html
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