Reclamation Funds over $2.2 Million for Drought Relief Projects in the West

Projects Awarded in Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615

For Release: September 20, 2007

Drought is gripping many parts of the western United States and to help relieve stress to some communities, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson has announced that $2,299,600 was awarded to 14 projects in six states.

"Over the last several years drought has affected many parts of the western United States," said Commissioner Robert Johnson. "Rural areas have been hit hardest by this drought and our funding should help them address this challenge."

Funding was provided for projects in six states; Arizona ($1,233,000), California ($83,000), Idaho ($204,000), Montana ($144,600), North Dakota ($100,000), South Dakota ($535,000).

An example of the projects funded is the Big Hole Watershed Committee in Montana. It received $55,000 to help increase instream flows in the Big Hole River. The Committee will drill eight new shallow stock wells throughout the project area allowing water that was previously diverted to remain in the river to support the last remaining population of the Arctic Grayling in the lower 48 states.

The drought assistance funding was made available in the Supplemental Appropriations Act signed on May 27, 2007. A total of $18 million was made available with $6 million allocated to Garrison Project authorities and $12 million available under the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Act.

Drought Relief Projects Funded

The Hualapai Tribe: The Hualapai Tribe received $1,233,000 to provide water for livestock, wildlife, and fire suppression activities. The four projects include drilling a new well, installing a temporary pipeline and solar pump, purchasing new storage tanks, and hauling water for livestock.

The La Jolla Band of Luiseno Mission Indians: The La Jolla Tribe received $83,000 to provide measures for fire suppression and increased storage. The three projects include building a temporary pipeline, moving a temporary storage tank, and developing a drought contingency plan.

A&B Irrigation District: The A&B Irrigation District received $204,000 to rehabilitate or replace six wells as part of the Minidoka Project North Side Pumping Division. The Pumping Division supplies irrigation water to 76,800 acres and the water level in those wells has dropped an average of 25 feet.

Big Hole River Watershed Committee: The Watershed Committee received $55,000 to help increase instream flows by reducing the need to divert water from the Big Hole River. The Watershed Committee will drill eight new shallow stock wells throughout the project. This will leave water in the river to support the Arctic Grayling population, the last remaining population in the lower 48 states. The Watershed Committee will also install new streamgaging equipment to improve the ability to monitor flows in the river and coordinate irrigation diversions.

Bynum/Teton County Water and Sewer District: The Water and Sewer District received $70,000 to drill a new community well to address water supply and water quality issues that are currently facing the small community of Bynum, Mont. The current wells do not function properly or provide the district with an adequate water supply.

Trout Unlimited - Jefferson River Drought Monitoring Project: Trout Unlimited received $19,600 to install two new streamgaging stations, one in the Ruby River drainage and the other in the Beaverhead River drainage. Trout Unlimited has been working with watershed groups in this area for eight years to protect an active fishery. They have established Voluntary Drought Management Plans with watershed groups in the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby, and Jefferson Rivers.

North Dakota
McKenzie County Grazing Association: The Grazing Association received $100,000 to drill a new well to replace an existing well that has reduced capacity to provide water to 18 stock tanks. The existing well, once produced 15 gallons per minute, now only produces .75 gallons per minute because of the drought and technical issues with the pump installed in 1970.

South Dakota
City of Faith, South Dakota: The City of Faith received $260,000 to drill a new municipal well to supplement deliveries it has received from the Tri-County Water System and ensure an adequate supply of water in the future. The city usually received 130 gallons per minute, but because of the drought it only receives 80 gallons per minute. Because of this, water rationing has been instituted in the city to ensure enough supply for everyone.

Fall River Water Users District, South Dakota: The Water District received $275,000 to drill a well to provide water for both livestock and rural customers. They serve about 300 connections for pasture taps for stock ponds and tanks and about 500 residential customers, the largest being the community of Oelrichs, South Dakota. They water system relies on receiving water from the City of Hot Springs, but because of the drought, the City is unable to deliver its contract water supply.

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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:

Drought Program