Federal Agencies Collaborate to Provide Funding Opportunity for Bay-Delta Water Efficiencies

Media Contact: Pete Lucero, 916-978-5100
Roney Gutierrez , 530-792-5649

For Release: November 15, 2010

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are working together to leverage federal monies for water delivery agencies and agricultural producers in California's Bay-Delta region.

Reclamation has made available a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to invite Indian Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on projects that save water, improve water management and create new supplies for agricultural irrigation. Projects should also increase the capability or success rate of on-farm water conservation or water use efficiency projects that can be undertaken by farmers and ranchers through irrigation system improvements and irrigation efficiency enhancements.

"This joint effort represents a tangible step forward to facilitate and coordinate Federal actions in meeting the region's water supply and environmental challenges," Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor said. "As directed by the 2009 California Bay-Delta Action Plan, multiple Federal agencies are strategically aligning their resources to address this important agenda. The Bay-Delta is the lifeblood of this region, which is why partnerships such as this one we are announcing today between Reclamation, NRCS and California's agricultural community are so very important."

As part of the Reclamation/NRCS partnership, NRCS, through 2008 Farm Bill programs will provide funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers for the eligible on-farm conservation practices of selected WaterSMART projects under this FOA. On-farm water conservation practices could include irrigation improvements such as conversion to sprinkler or drip systems, micro-irrigation and tail water recovery systems. Reclamation and NRCS will each provide up to $5 million for this effort.

"NRCS is committed to partnering with private landowners to enhance water conservation in California's Bay-Delta region," said NRCS Chief Dave White. "Working together with the Bureau of Reclamation we can provide a more comprehensive approach to water conservation that benefits the entire landscape and ensures the availability of a reliable water supply for both rural and urban communities."

Beyond the Bay Delta region, the nation as a whole faces an increasing set of water resource challenges and issues that make it difficult to meet today's diverse water needs through traditional water management approaches. The Department of the Interior's WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) program is working to achieve a sustainable water strategy throughout the nation.

The FOA is available online at www.grants.gov. If you encounter problems accessing the FOA online, please call the Reclamation Public Affairs Office at 916-978-5100 (TTY 916-978-5608) or e-mail mppublicaffairs@usbr.gov. Applications are due by January 31, 2011, 3:00 PM PST.

Reclamation will post additional WaterSMART funding opportunities later this year. Please visit http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/ for information on these additional opportunities.

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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 and follow us on Twitter @USBR.