Water is our most precious natural resource and is increasingly stressed by the demands our society places on it. Adequate water supplies are an essential element in human survival, ecosystem health, energy production, and economic sustainability. Significant climate change-related impacts on water supplies are well documented in the scientific literature and scientists are forecasting changes in hydrologic cycles.
Congress recognized these issues with the passage of the SECURE Water Act, a law that authorizes federal water and science agencies to work together with state and local water managers to plan for climate change and the other threats to our water supplies, and take action to secure our water resources for the communities, economies, and the ecosystems they support.
To implement the SECURE Water Act, and ensure that the Department of the Interior is positioned to meet these challenges, Secretary Salazar established the WaterSMART program in February 2010. WaterSMART allows all bureaus of the Department to work with States, Tribes, local governments, and non-governmental organizations to pursue a sustainable water supply for the Nation by establishing a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of the various Interior offices.
Reclamation plays a key role in the WaterSMART program as the Department’s main water management agency. Focused on improving water conservation and helping water and resource managers make wise decisions about water use, Reclamation’s portion of the WaterSMART program is achieved through administration of grants, scientific studies, technical assistance, and scientific expertise.