WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced a new grant program under the Department of the Interior’s Water 2025 initiative that will enable water users to perform broad studies of the efficiency of their water delivery systems. Water users must submit grant proposals to Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation by Dec. 4, 2007, to compete for funds for a System Optimization Review.
"This program will assist water users in evaluating the most efficient ways to manage their irrigation systems and thus further the goals of Water 2025 to increase water conservation and ensure adequate water supplies for future needs,” Secretary Kempthorne said.
The Bureau of Reclamation will award the funds for System Optimization Reviews, each of which will result in a plan of action that will focus on improving efficiency and operations on a regional or basin perspective. Most improvements identified in the reviews will be eligible to apply to the Water 2025 Challenge Grant Program for additional funding."
System Optimization Reviews will involve a multi-step process that will gather information about the system being reviewed; identify issues and priorities; establish water conservation goals; examine water management, water marketing and ways to prevent conflicts over water; identify and evaluate potential improvements; define a plan of action; and prepare a final report.
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.
To be eligible for one of the new System Optimization Review grants, applicants must represent an irrigation or water district, tribal water authority, state governmental entity with water management authority, or organizations created under state law with water delivery authority; be located in the seventeen western states; provide a 50/50 cost-share; request no more than $300,000 federal cost-share; and be scheduled for completion in 24 months.
Since 2004, Interior has awarded more than $25 million in Challenge grants that resulted in more than 120 projects receiving funding. Including matching contributions of non-federal partners, the projects represent a combined investment of more than $105 million in water management improvements.
To learn more about the System Optimization Review Grants, the Challenge Grant Program, or Water 2025, please visit www.doi.gov/water2025.