Secretary Kempthorne Announces $1.3 Million in Grants for Water Conservation Projects in West

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, (303) 445-3615
Frank Quimby, 202-208-7291

For Release: July 10, 2006

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has approved $1.3 million in Water 2025 Challenge Grants for water conservation projects across the West. The grants will help fund ten projects in seven states. Including the matching contributions of non-federal partners, the selected projects represent a combined investment of more than $5.6 million in water management improvements.

"The western states are experiencing increasing water supply challenges, and the continuing drought makes these pressures more acute, Kempthorne said. "Chronic water shortages, explosive population growth, over-allocated watersheds, environmental needs and aging water facilities are combining to create the potential for crisis and conflict over water. "Being proactive is the best approach to prevent water conflicts," Kempthorne continued. "These grants will help prevent conflict over the limited water resources in the West by stretching existing supplies and improving aging infrastructure through realistic and cooperative local approaches."

These grants, awarded by the Bureau of Reclamation, fund a variety of projects that will improve the efficient use of existing water supplies through water conservation, efficiency and water market projects. The Challenge Grant Program focuses on meeting the goals identified in Water 2025: Preventing Crises and Conflict in the West.

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.

In Oregon, for example, the Three Sisters Irrigation District will install 11,300 linear feet of pressurized pipe to replace an existing open canal. The project is estimated to save 750 acre-feet of water per year. (An acre-foot is about 325,851 gallons  enough to meet the annual needs of two urban households.)

In South Dakota, the Belle Fourche Irrigation District will line approximately 1,750 feet of the inlet canal and make the saved water available to the district's water bank. The project is estimated to save 1,233 acre-feet of water per year.

The agencies and groups that proposed the ten projects will now work with Reclamation to secure a cooperative agreement and complete regulatory processes. Groundbreaking on the projects is expected by the end of September and they must be completed within two years.

More information on Water 2025 is at

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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