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Judy O'Sullivan
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Mark Andersen
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Released On: November 02, 2007

Reclamation Funds Drought Relief Projects in Kansas and Nebraska
Drought has been gripping many parts of the western United States, including portions of Nebraska and Kansas. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson recently announced that $828,000 has been awarded to six drought assistance projects in Nebraska and Kansas. "Over the last several years drought has affected many parts of the western United States," said Commissioner Johnson. "Rural areas have been hit hardest by this drought and our funding should help address this challenge."

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 $12 million available under the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Act.

The drought funding for the Nebraska and Kansas projects will be administered through Reclamation's Nebraska-Kansas Area Office in Grand Island. "We are very pleased with the funding provided for our local area projects," said Area Manager Aaron Thompson. "It will help relieve stress in these areas."

Kansas

Acting on a request from the Kansas Water Office, Reclamation approved $98,000 for the purchase and installation of ten automated weather stations. These additional stations will add to Kansas' real-time weather data collection network, improving regional precipitation monitoring, drought monitoring, flood forecasting, reservoir operations and irrigation water management. The stations will be in Clay, Cloud, Jewell, Mitchell, Osborne, Phillips, Republic, Rooks, Smith and Washington counties. The stations will be operated and maintained by Kansas State University under contract with the Kansas Water Office.

Nebraska

Drought assistance requests from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources resulted in Reclamation approving over $700,000 of drought assistance for five projects in Nebraska.

The villages of Mason City and Stockville were each approved $165,000 for projects that will install new municipal water wells. Both villages currently operate with just one water well which has experienced decreased levels in the summer due to precipitation shortfalls and irrigation use. Installing a new well in these localities will ensure the cities have adequate water pressure, fire protection, and can provide for the health and well being of their residents.

Three of Nebraska's Natural Resource Districts (NRDs) were approved for projects that will provide cost-share funds for installing flow meters. The drought conditions of the past five years have made precision in the management of water resources a top priority. Installation of meters in these NRDs will help landowners better manage their water and assist the districts to develop integrated management plans and implement groundwater management plans. Through cooperative agreements with each NRD, Reclamation will provide $200,000 to the Upper Niobrara-White NRD; $50,000 to the South Platte NRD; and $150,000 to the North Platte NRD. The meter cost sharing program for the North Platte NRD will be handled through Reclamation's Wyoming Area Office located in Mills.

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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 www.usbr.gov.