Research Alliance to Study Reducing Canal Seepage

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, (303) 445-3615

For Release: August 17, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation has provided a $140,000 grant to the Desert Research Institute to evaluate water conservation effectiveness and environmental issues of Polyacrylamide (PAM) when used to reduce seepage in irrigation canals in the 17 conterminous western states.

"Understanding the effectiveness of PAM and how it interacts with the environment is important to helping our customers conserve water," said Reclamation Commissioner John Keys. "This research will help us meet the goals of Secretary Norton's Water 2025 by enhancing water conservation, use efficiency, and resource monitoring to allow existing water supplies to be used more effectively."

PAM is relatively new in helping to conserve water. It is spray-applied and forms a layer at the bottom of the canal. This layer combines with the soil particles to seal the canal and reduce seepage. It can be applied at low unit costs.

Water 2025, introduced by Interior Secretary Gale Norton in 2003, 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.

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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. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Water 2025