Reclamation Announces $3.3 Million Made Available for WaterSMART Basin Study Program

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615

For Release: August 12, 2010

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor announced today that Reclamation will make $3.3 million available for six basin studies and two plans of study to begin in fiscal year 2010. This funding will match over $4 million in non-federal funding from state, tribal, and local partners.

"A strong and reliable partnership between the federal government and states, tribes, and local water managers is imperative to meet the many water challenges that are faced in the western United States," said Commissioner Connor. "Through the Basin Study Program, Reclamation is partnering with basin stakeholders to conduct comprehensive studies to define options for meeting future water demands in targeted river basins in the West."

One of the basins identified for funding was the Truckee River Basin. This basin encompasses approximately 3,060 square miles in California and Nevada and is a key source of water for over 400,000 people. The Truckee River is fully allocated and struggles to meet all the needs, including flows for endangered fish, in dry years. This study will identify potential climate change impacts to the Truckee's hydrology including fish and wildlife, their habitats, hydroelectric power generation, water quality, recreation, and flood control. Reclamation is working in partnership with the Placer County Water Agency, Truckee River Flood Project, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, State of California - Department of Water Resources, State of Nevada - Water Resources Department, Truckee Meadows Water Authority, City of Fernley, and the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

The other basin studies announced today are:

  • Deschutes River Basin Study (Oregon)
  • Henrys Fork of the Snake River Basin Study (Idaho)
  • Niobrara River Basin Study (Nebraska)
  • Santa Ana Watershed Basin Study (California)
  • Southeast California Regional Basin Study (California)

The basin studies are cost-shared on a 50/50 basis with state, tribal, and local partners and will generally be two years in duration. The basins or sub-basins were selected based upon published criteria and are areas where water supply and demand imbalances may exist.

Basin Studies are part of the U.S. Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Program. The studies will include assessments of the impacts of climate change on water resources and will specifically consider risks to water supplies including changes to snowpack, and timing and quantity of runoff.

Two applicants will receive funding to develop a plan of study. The plan of study will help the cost-share partners define the outcomes and set the scope and focus for a potential future Basin Study. It will be developed jointly by the Bureau of Reclamation and the cost-share partners. The cost-share partners will need to submit a proposal next year during the funding opportunity announcement to receive Reclamation's assistance in completion of a Basin Study.

The projects announced today that will develop a Plan of Study are:

  • Klamath Basin Study (California and Oregon)
  • Taos Pueblo Water Supply and Demand Basin Study (New Mexico)

WaterSMART is a program of the U.S. Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation, and ecosystem health. The Program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands.

Editor's Note: A complete description of the projects is attached.

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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.

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