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Released On: June 29, 2011

Reclamation Awards $2.3 Million to Study Eight Rural Water Supply Projects in Six Western States
Projects in Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada & Oklahoma Selected
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced the selection of three feasibility studies and five appraisal investigations with the goal of improving water supplies for rural communities in six western states. The eight awards, totaling $2.3 million, will help these towns and Tribal communities explore options to help meet their future water needs.

"Having clean water for domestic, municipal and industrial uses is important for rural communities to ensure the health of their residents and grow their economies," said Commissioner Connor. "The funding for these studies and investigations will provide these rural areas with the information necessary to secure long-term usable water supplies."

The feasibility studies for the Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District in Nebraska and the Central Montana Regional Water Authority follow the appropriate progression through the process that was established by the Rural Water Supply Act. In 2010, they undertook and completed appraisal investigations which were funded through the Bureau of Reclamation's Rural Water Supply Program. The North Central Arizona Feasibility Study received an award last year to begin that project's multi-year effort; the project will continue to receive funding this year. A feasibility study is a detailed analysis to determine if a proposed water supply project addresses a documented need, is technically and economically feasible and is affordable to the intended beneficiaries.

Five proposals were selected to receive appraisal investigation funding. They are Nye County, Nev., McKinley County, N.M., City of Sulphur, Okla., South Sioux City, Neb. and the Alamo Chapter of the Navajo Nation. An appraisal investigation is a preliminary assessment of alternatives to see if one is viable for a more detailed investigation through a feasibility study.

The Rural Water Supply Program was authorized in 2006 and allows Reclamation to work with communities with a population less than 50,000 in finding opportunities to ensure safe and adequate rural water supply projects for domestic, municipal and industrial use.

To learn more about the Rural Water Supply Program, please visit www.usbr.gov/ruralwater.

Feasibility Studies

Central Montana Regional Water Authority
Reclamation Funding: $500,000
Total Funding: $1,280,000
The Central Montana Regional Water Authority will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate alternatives for providing drinking water to nine municipalities and neighboring rural areas in the Musselshell and Judith watersheds.

Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District, Nebraska
Reclamation Funding: $320,375
Total Funding: $640,750

The Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District will investigate several alternatives for a regional water system to serve communities in north-central Nebraska, including the Santee Sioux Reservation.

North Central Arizona
Reclamation Funding: $450,000
Total Funding: $2,300,000

The North Central Arizona feasibility study, initially awarded in fiscal year 2010, will continue to receive $450,000. The Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council will continue conducting a feasibility study on several alternatives identified in the North Central Arizona Water Supply Appraisal Study for the Coconino Plateau. This area includes several Navajo Nation chapters, Hopi Tribe villages, non-tribal communities and Grand Canyon National Park.

Appraisal Investigations

McKinley County, New Mexico
Reclamation Funding: $200,000
Total Funding: $209,256

McKinley County will conduct an appraisal investigation evaluating specific components of regional alternatives to ensure long-term water supply for rural water systems in McKinley County and northern Cibola County.

Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources (Alamo Chapter)
Reclamation Funding: $200,000
Total Funding: $200,000

The Alamo Chapter of the Navajo Nation will conduct an appraisal investigation to identify and analyze alternatives that can provide an adequate water supply of sufficient reliability and quality that supports the current and future municipal and commercial needs.

Nye County, Nevada
Reclamation Funding: $195,516
Total Funding: $195,516

Nye County Water will conduct an appraisal investigation to provide a comprehensive appraisal of the domestic, municipal, industrial and residential water supply. It will support sustainable planning throughout Nye County located in southern Nevada.

South Sioux City, Nebraska
Reclamation Funding: $199,800
Total Funding: $199,800

South Sioux City will conduct an appraisal investigation to examine the comprehensive water supply problems, needs and opportunities throughout Dakota and Thurston Counties, located in rural northeastern Nebraska.

Sulphur, Oklahoma
Reclamation Funding: $190,063
Total Funding: $190,063

The city of Sulphur will conduct an appraisal investigation to convey water from the Lake of the Arbuckles to the city and other areas in south-central Oklahoma.

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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.