Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Frank Quimby 202-208-7291
For Immediate Release:April 20, 2004
Trudy Harlow 202-513-0574
Overwhelming Response to Water 2025 Secretarial Challenge Grant Program

(WASHINGTON) - Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that there has been an overwhelming response to the 2004 Water 2025 Secretarial Challenge Grant program.

For this year's $4 million program, the Bureau of Reclamation received more than 100 proposals representing over $98 million in water delivery system improvements across the West. Of that, the federal share request is more than $25 million, with the rest made up by matching funds from non-federal sources such as irrigation and water districts.

"This response underscores the significance of Water 2025 to Western water users and proves the success of the Challenge Grant concept," Norton said. "It demonstrates a widespread eagerness to work collaboratively to improve the way water is managed across the West and address local needs. These conservation improvements will help prevent crises and conflicts over our limited water resources in the region."

The 2004 Secretarial Challenge Grant program sought proposals from irrigation and water districts that want to leverage their money and resources in partnership with Reclamation to make more efficient use of existing water supplies through water conservation, efficiency, and water market projects.

The program focuses on achieving the outcomes identified in Water 2025: Preventing Crises and Conflict in the West, particularly in water conservation and efficiency, water markets, and collaboration, with an emphasis on projects that can be completed within 24 months and that help stretch water supplies in the arid West.

The proposals are being evaluated to ensure they meet the requirements established for the Challenge Grant program. Final selections will be announced later this summer.

President Bush has requested $20 million for Water 2025 challenge grants in Fiscal Year 2005, with an additional $1 million for supporting research by the U.S. Geological Survey. Norton launched Water 2025 last year.

The initiative supports realistic, cooperative approaches and tools that have the most likelihood of successfully addressing water supply challenges in basins facing the greatest potential risk.

The program calls for concentrating limited federal financial and technical resources in key western watersheds and in critical research and development efforts that will help to predict, prevent and alleviate water supply conflicts.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits.

Information on Water 2025 is online at


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