Bureau of Reclamation Banner
Commissioner's Office
Washington, D.C.
Media Contact:
Peter Soeth
303-445-3615

Released On: May 13, 2010

Reclamation Advances Implementation of Rural Water Program
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced today the implementation of the Rural Water Program, a new program within Reclamation. The Rural Water Program is a program to work with small communities in rural area to assess their potable water supply needs and identify options to address those needs.

"Reclamation will work with small communities, including Indian tribes, on a cost-shared basis to explore opportunities to supply water for domestic, municipal, and industrial uses in rural areas," said Commissioner Connor. "This program will assist Reclamation and other organizations to efficiently address rural water supply needs in the West."

Under this program Reclamation will work with small communities of no more than 50,000 people to investigate opportunities to ensure safe and adequate rural water supply projects for domestic, municipal and industrial use; plan the design and construction of rural water supply projects through the conduct of appraisal investigations and feasibility studies; and oversee, as appropriate, the construction of rural water supply projects that are recommended for construction by Reclamation in a feasibility report developed under the program and subsequently authorized by Congress.

Reclamation will have a Funding Opportunity Announcement in the next few days on www.grants.gov. It will outline all the requirements for requesting program assistance.

Eligible entities can also participate by submitting an appraisal investigation or feasibility study prepared without any financial or technical support from Reclamation. This option provides the opportunity to have Reclamation review previously completed appraisal investigations or feasibility studies and prepare a report with recommendations on whether to proceed to the next step in the planning process. If the submitted investigations or studies meet the criteria they will be incorporated into the program.

Eligible entities can submit their completed appraisal investigation or feasibility study to their local Reclamation Area Office at any time and without having to respond to the upcoming Funding Opportunity Announcement. While the Rural Water Program provides authority to undertake appraisal investigations and feasibility studies, it does not provide authority to undertake the construction of water delivery facilities recommended for development under the program. Construction of projects would require a specific Act of Congress.

The Rural Water Program was authorized in 2006 in Title I of the Reclamation Rural Water Supply Act, P.L. 109-451. Rulemaking for the program was conducted with public comment in 2008 and an interim final rule was instituted in 2009 that established the programmatic criteria for the program.

To learn more about Reclamation's Rural Water Program please visit www.usbr.gov/ruralwater.

# # #
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.