$20M ARRA Project at Weber Siphon Complex Construction is Underway in the Columbia Basin Project

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212

For Release: June 29, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Weber Siphon Complex construction is underway following the recent resolution of a contract dispute for the $20 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)-funded project. The Weber Siphon Complex includes the Weber Branch and Weber Coulee Siphons and is located in eastern Washington.

The contract was awarded to Mowat Construction Company, of Woodinville, Wash., on September 30, 2009. An unsuccessful bidder for the project protested on November 12, 2009, to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) resulting in a suspension of work activity until the matter was resolved. GAO denied the protest on February 19, 2010, and construction activities began in April 2010.

Construction of the Weber Branch and Weber Coulee Siphons will eliminate a water delivery bottleneck in the East Low Canal where it crosses Interstate 90 near Moses Lake, Wash. The siphons will allow delivery of a small amount of water to ground water pumpers in the Odessa subarea.

The project will supply irrigation water to approximately 10,000 acres, which are currently dependent on deep wells that contribute to groundwater declines in the Odessa subarea. The project will also meet objectives of the State of Washington's Columbia River Water Management Act, which calls for the development of new water supplies while meeting the economic and community development needs of people, and preserving the environment.

"Construction of the Weber Branch and Weber Coulee Siphons will get some needed water to farmers in the Odessa subarea and will contribute to the greater success of the Columbia Basin Project," said Secretary Salazar.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in 2009 gave $3 billion to the Department of the Interior.

The ARRA funds represent an important component of the President's plan to jumpstart the economy and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so the country can thrive in the 21st century. Under the ARRA, Interior is making an investment in conserving America's timeless treasures - our stunning natural landscapes, our monuments to liberty, the icons of our culture and heritage - while helping American families and their communities prosper again. Interior is also focusing on renewable energy projects, the needs of American Indians, employing youth and promoting community service.

"With its investments of Recovery Act funds, the Department of the Interior and its bureaus are putting people to work today to make improvements that will benefit the environment and the region for many years to come," Secretary Salazar said.

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department's economic recovery projects. The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on www.recovery.gov and on www.interior.gov/recovery. Secretary Salazar has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force to work closely with Interior's Inspector General and ensure the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency set by President Obama.

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