Department of the Interior

News Header
Office of the Secretary
Trudy Harlow, 202-513-0574
For Immediate Release: June 21, 2004 Frank Quimby, 202-208-6416
Secretary Norton Awards $4 Million in Grants
For Water Conservation Projects in the West

(PHOENIX) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that she has approved more than $4 million in water conservation grants under the Water 2025 Secretarial Challenge Grant Program.

"Watersheds in the West are experiencing a worsening of chronic water supply shortages because of growing populations and heightened competition for a finite supply," Secretary Norton said. "These conservation grants support realistic and cooperative local approaches to help prevent crises and conflict over our limited water resources in these regions."

The 19 projects selected are located in ten states. The total investment for all projects selected for grants is more than $39 million, which includes the matching contributions of non-federal partners.

"Of the $8.4 million appropriated for Reclamation's Water 2025 program in Fiscal Year 2004, Congress directed that about half be invested in targeted areas and projects like the Middle Rio Grande in New Mexico, the Desert Research Institute in Nevada, and the OhioView Consortium for using advanced remote sensing technology throughout the West," Norton said. "We put the remaining $4 million into the creation of the Challenge Grant Program as a way to leverage those funds."

Today, at an event at Arizona Falls in Phoenix, Secretary Norton recognized the three projects located in Arizona - the Gila Gravity Main Canal Board, the Salt River Project and the Yuma County Water Users Association.

The grants from the Bureau of Reclamation will fund a variety of projects to 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, 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 San Juan River Dineh Water Users, Inc. will convert three open lateral ditches to underground pipelines that could save up to 5,600 acre-feet of water each year. An acre-foot of water is enough for a family of four for a year.

In Oregon, the Swalley Irrigation District will partner with seven irrigation districts, six cities, three tribes and the Deschutes Resource Conservancy to establish a basin-wide water market and bank and include a study to identify sources of water for the new water bank.

In Montana, the Paradise Valley Irrigation District will replace 9,000 feet of a leaky hillside canal with pressure pipe, saving up to 1,000 acre-feet of water each year.

The 19 selected projects will now work with Reclamation to secure a cooperative agreement and complete the regulatory processes. Groundbreaking on the projects is anticipated before the end of the fiscal year, and they will be completed in 24 months. The following is a complete list of the 19 projects by state:


The Gila Gravity Main Canal Board, in partnership with the City of Yuma and NAD Bank, will make canal system improvements to conserve water, restore canal capacity and improve operation efficiency. Five irrigation districts, the City of Yuma and other domestic water users will benefit from the project. Improvements include sealing canals at high seepage points and removing sediment from the Gila Main Gravity Canal. Additional work includes installing a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, a complex system to control a river system by providing more precise measurement of water flow. Resulting savings will be about 45,000 acre-feet of water per year. The conserved water will be available for other Colorado River users. The total project cost is $2,207,775 with a Water 2025 contribution of $284,000.

Salt River Project, Tempe: The New River-Agua Fria Underground Storage Project, an artificial groundwater recharge facility with a total capacity of 1 million acre-feet, is designed to take available water supplies, including both excess Central Arizona Project and reclaimed water, and store it in underground aquifers for use in the future. This recharge project further enhances the Phoenix metropolitan area water management objectives, including improving water adequacy, supply reliability, and meeting state mandated water resources goals. This project also will help each of the partners meet the water needs of the explosive population growth in this area, reduce conflict between

water agencies through a partnership approach and improve flexibility in water management, including overdraft mitigation and drought protection. In addition to Reclamation and the Salt River Project, the partners include the cities of Avondale, Chandler, Glendale and Peoria. The total project cost is $13,000,000, with a Water 2025 contribution of $200,000.

Yuma County Water Users Association, Yuma: The Association will upgrade a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and implement a new water tracking and measurement system. The project also includes reconstruction of key diversion structures along the main canal that will facilitate remote control of water flows. This modernization will reduce diversions from the Colorado River and provide an overall savings in water diversions of 12,000-20,000 acre-feet per year. The total project cost is $615,552, with a Water 2025 contribution of $246,221.


Calleguas Municipal Water District, Thousand Oaks: The District will install automated monitoring devices to 23 water distributors to allow the District to implement new rate structures. These devices will improve distribution during peak demand and will encourage more efficient water use, conserve water and manage local groundwater supplies in concert with imported water. The District covers an area of approximately 350 square miles in Ventura County. Communities served include the cities of Oxnard, Camarillo, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark, and Port Hueneme, as well as Oak Park, Santa Rose Valley, Bell Canyon, Lake Sherwood, Somis, Camarillo Estates, and Camarillo Heights. This project will reduce demand on the Metropolitan Water District and the Colorado River, resulting in a savings of 5,500 acre-feet per year. The total project cost is $3,095,000, with a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.

Contra Costa Water District, Concord: The District will install 2,100 feet of pipe in the Contra Costa Canal to isolate drinking water from agricultural saline ground water seepage. The canal conveys drinking water to 450,000 residents and vital industries in Contra Costa County. This project provides benefits statewide as well as for local stakeholders. The project will improve the ability of the Central Valley Project to meet established Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta water quality standards because of long-standing local degradation on this reach of the canal. Water savings will range from 9,000 to 34,000 acre-feet per year, depending on the water supply conditions. This amounts to a savings of an average of $1.4 million each year. The total project cost is $9,132,716, with a Water 2025 contribution of $200,000.

Imperial Irrigation District, El Centro: The District will strategically place four independent flow meter sensors along the All American Canal to improve monitoring of delivery water, particularly during high and low flow periods into the Imperial Valley, and at the diversions to Mexico and Coachella Valley. This project will result in these three areas receiving the proper allotment of water necessary for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses. Newly measured and accounted-for supply will result in more efficient distribution of water, reducing demand on the Colorado River and saving 34,500 acre-feet per year. The total project cost is $230,452, with a Water 2025 contribution of $115,226.

Stevinson Water District, Merced: The District will replace 23,067 feet of open canals with pipe to control high water tables fed by seepage, water conservation, improved delivery flexibility and reduction on operational spillage. Increased measurements and improved system responsiveness will enhance irrigation service and is expected to result in further water conservation. The project will save approximately 1,155 acre-feet per year, which may be sold to Reclamation for the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge. The total project cost is $1,556,500, with a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.


Mancos Water Conservancy District, Mancos: This project will test the effectiveness of different materials for canal lining on 340 feet of the Jackson Gulch Inlet Canal. The inlet canal is the only source of water into Jackson Gulch Reservoir. The water users who depend on the reservoir include agricultural communities in the surrounding area, the town of Mancos and Mesa Verde National Park. Lining the canal will provide the District with 10-15 percent more water, easing tensions between domestic and agricultural users. The total project cost is $38,676, with a Water 2025 contribution of $19,338.


Paradise Valley Irrigation District, Chinook: The District will replace 9,000 feet of leaky hillside canal with a pressure pipeline system, conserving 1,000 acre-feet per year of water. It will be one of the first in the area and a significant improvement over the old system. This project will conserve water for the District by eliminating seepage in the canal and improve operation and control in the main canal. Efficiency levels will nearly be 100 percent with the new pipeline system, compared to the current efficiency rate of 40-45 percent. Irrigation seasons will be extended during drought years by making more use of the water that is available. The total project cost is $ $524,215, with a Water 2025 contribution of $262,107.


San Juan River Dineh Water Users, Inc., Shiprock: The project will convert three lateral ditches to underground pipelines, potentially saving 5,600 acre-feet each year for other water users on the main canal. Converting all three lateral ditches into underground pipeline will improve equitable water distribution, increase conveyance efficiency, allow farmers to pursue new irrigation technologies, reduce demand on the San Juan River and reduce operation and maintenance costs. The total project cost is $751,000, with a Water 2025 contribution of $200,000.


Truckee Carson Irrigation District and City of Fernly, Fernly: This project will improve the control of the Gilpin Spill structure by automating gate changes through installation of remote-controlled gates and telemetry at one location on the Truckee Canal. This project will allow the District to make more frequent and timelier changes to meet its demand more accurately, thus reducing the amount of water diverted from the Truckee River. The saved water - approximately 3,000 acre-feet per year - will flow downstream and enhance instream flows or be stored upstream to meet future needs. The total project cost is $ 300,000, with a Water 2025 contribution of $150,000.


Farmers Irrigation District, Hood River: The District will improve its water delivery system by replacing 8.6 miles of open canals with high quality piping, thus conserving an average of 40 percent of current water usage over the course of the season. The project will market saved water (1,500-3,500 acre-feet per year) for instream use in a fish habitat area and a siphon will be installed to eliminate barrier to fish passage. The total cost of the project is $6,382,973, with a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.

Klamath Irrigation District, Klamath Falls: The District will line the 4,316-foot long C Canal Flume with polyurethane to stop leaking and extend the life of the 83-year-old structure. This will save up to 2,000 acre-feet per year, which will then be used to address irrigation shortages, refuge supplies, Endangered Species Act requirements, water quality improvements and tribal trusts. The total cost of the project is $233,035, with a Water 2025 contribution of $116,517.

Medford Irrigation District, Medford: The District proposes an innovative approach to address water shortages for irrigation and instream uses by replacing 2,500 feet of an antiquated, open canal with 66-inch pipeline. This project will save 94 acre-feet per year, improve delivery efficiency and reduce maintenance costs. It also will remove three fish passage barriers and open up three miles of historic steelhead trout habitat. The total cost of the project is $602,032, with a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.

Swalley Irrigation District, Bend: This project involves numerous partners - seven irrigation districts, six cities, three tribes and the Deschutes Resource Conservancy. The project addresses long-term basin water needs by establishing a pilot water bank, with a long-term potential savings of up to 326,522 acre-feet a year. The project demonstrates collective partnering of basin interests and addresses many institutional constraints. The total cost of the project is $588,750, with a Water 2025 contribution of $233,750.


Harlingen Irrigation District, Harlingen: The District will purchase and install 225 on-farm delivery site meters for more precise water measurement and efficient water delivery. The saved water -- 3,464 acre-feet per year -- will enable continued farming during droughts and increase the length of the irrigation season. On-farm metering will help the District achieve its goal of 100 percent volumetric pricing of water delivered to its users. The total cost of the project is $602,500, with a Water 2025 contribution of $300,000.


Emery Water Conservancy District, Castle Dale: The District will install automatic remote controls at three dams and automate diversions on four creeks in the Green River Basin. The devices will be integrated with existing SCADA software. The District also will install measuring weirs, upgrade weather stations and establish an online irrigation advisory program. Water savings are estimated to be between 10 and 20 percent. The total cost of the project is $535,520, with a Water 2025 contribution of $257,910.

Springville Irrigation District, Springville: The District will replace an open lateral in Wasatch County, with 550 feet of pipe to reduce seepage. It also will construct a new diversion structure and install a measuring weir to reduce water loss. The project will save 220 acre-feet per year and possibly benefit the June sucker, an endangered fish. The total cost of the project is $58,000, with a Water 2025 contribution of $29,000.


Casper-Alcova Irrigation District, Casper: The District will replace a portion of unlined canal with 5,158 feet of PVC pipe and install new head gates, valves and flow measurement devices to save 490 acre-feet per year. When finished, the project will potentially conserve 31.7 percent of the total available water in the two lateral systems and substantially reduce operating and maintenance costs. The District intends to market the water savings as it has done in the past. The total cost of the project is $502,189, with a Water 2025 contribution of $232,215.

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. Information on Water 2025 is available online at