Reclamation Funding to Help Idaho and Oregon Basin Study Efforts

Media Contact: John Redding, (208) 378-5212
Bryan Horsburgh, (208) 378-5356

For Release: August 27, 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation has approved funding to study water supply opportunities in Oregon and Idaho under its WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) Basin Study Program. Through the Basin Study Program, Reclamation will partner with local stakeholders to conduct comprehensive studies to define options for meeting future water demands. The Oregon and Idaho awards are part of $3.3 million made available for six basin studies in fiscal year 2010.

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.

In Oregon: Deschutes Basin Study

Interior has provided Reclamation $200,000 in federal funding through the WaterSMART program to partner with Deschutes Water Alliance (DWA). DWA will match that with $205,000 of local funds. The study will examine ways to update water supply and demand studies in Oregon's Deschutes Basin, and to develop and evaluate options for meeting future demands.

DWA was formed in 2004 to plan for long term water resource management in the Deschutes Basin; it is comprised of the following stakeholders:

- Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook Counties - Deschutes Basin Board of Control which includes North Unit, Central Oregon, Swalley, Tumalo, Three Sisters, Arnold, and Ochoco irrigation districts - Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs which focuses on managing resources as sustainable assets available for cultural, subsistence, economic and social purposes - Deschutes River Conservancy which is a non-profit organization with a mission to restore streamflow and improve water quality in the Deschutes Basin - Central Oregon Cities Organization (COCO) which includes representatives from the cities of Bend, Culver, Madras, Maupin, Metolius, Prineville, Redmond, and Sisters The Deschutes Basin Study will build on planning efforts to update existing research of municipal, agricultural, and environmental water needs in relation to existing water supplies, evaluate the effects of climate change on hydropower and water supply and demand, and identify specific options for meeting future water demands.

In Idaho: Basin Study on the Henrys Fork of the Snake River Basin

Interior has also provided Reclamation $400,000 in federal funding through the WaterSMART program to partner with the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB). IWRB will match that with $400,000 in local funds to conduct a basin study on water supply on the Henrys Fork of the Snake River Basin.

The study will identify opportunities for development of water supplies and improvement of water management while sustaining environmental quality. The Henrys Fork of the Snake River includes the North Fork Upper Snake River, Fall River, and Teton River watersheds.

The Idaho Water Resource Board which received the matching funds was created by the Idaho Legislature in 1965, consisting of eight members appointed by the governor to serve four-year terms.

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