Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Diana Cross, 208-863-3684
For Release: August 20, 2004
Shane Wolfe, 202-208-6416
Norton Awards Water 2025 Challenge Grant to Local Oregon Irrigation District

(Bend, Ore.) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today presented the Central Oregon Irrigation District with a Water 2025 Challenge Grant Award to assist in addressing long-term water needs in the Deschutes River basin.

The award, presented at a brief ceremony in Bend, Ore., will provide initial funding for the creation of a water bank by the Deschutes Water Alliance, a new coalition of local entities formed for this purpose. Participating in the brief ceremony were Reclamation Commissioner John Keys, local officials, and representatives from the four major partners that comprise the Deschutes Water Alliance.

"This project, with its large number of partners, exemplifies the principle of cooperative conservation," observed Secretary Norton. "The grant award will provide initial funding to address the long-term water needs for urban water supply, irrigation, and instream uses such as fishery and recreation."

As part of this new pilot project, Central Oregon Irrigation District will partner with six other irrigation districts, six cities, three tribes, and the Deschutes Resources Conservancy to establish a basin-wide water market and water bank.

The project is expected to save up to 326,522 acre-feet of water annually. Central Oregon Irrigation District will receive $233,750 in Water 2025 Challenge Grant funding, which will be combined with non-federal funds for a project total of $588,750.

The Challenge Grant is one of three awarded to irrigation districts in Oregon. Water districts in Medford and Hood River will also receive federal grants.

The Water 2025 Challenge Grants - administered by the Bureau of Reclamation - will provide local irrigation districts throughout the West with matching funds to support 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. In late June, Interior Secretary Gale Norton approved more than $4 million in water conservation grants under the Water 2025 Secretarial Challenge Grant Program. President George Bush has requested $21 million for the initiative in Fiscal Year 2005.



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