WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Announced for Irrigation Districts in Oregon and Texas

Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2 in Texas and Owyhee Irrigation District in Oregon Receive Awards

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615

For Release: September 20, 2011

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor has announced that the Hidalgo County Irrigation District, No. 2 in Texas received $300,000 and Owyhee Irrigation District in Malheur County, Oregon, has received $299,946 in funding through WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants.

"WaterSMART enables Reclamation to work cooperatively with irrigation districts, communities, other government agencies and Native American Tribes on increasing water and energy efficiencies," said Commissioner Connor. "These projects enable localities to sustainably use limited resources while creating local jobs and promoting economic growth."

Hidalgo County Irrigation District, No. 2 will modernize the operation of the Lateral A canal by retrofitting seven existing automated gate check structures with flume gates and installing solar powered Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition units to increase efficiency. The project is expected to result in a water savings of 320 acre-feet per year which will reduce pumping energy costs by approximately 25,000 kilowatt-hours per year. The total project will cost $844,973.

The Owyhee Irrigation District will convert 2.9 miles of an existing open ditch conveyance system to closed pipe to provide pressurized irrigation water to farms in their service area. The district will also install automated gates, flow meters and a solar powered automated side sweep cleaner to improve the operational efficiency of the delivery system. The project is expected to result in water savings of 194 acre-feet annually that will be left in Lake Owyhee to be made available for downstream water users. Once the pipeline has been installed, the project will also enable landowners to convert 970 acres from furrow irrigation to sprinkler irrigation which may lead to additional water and energy savings. The total project will cost $891,842.

Earlier this year, Reclamation awarded over $25 million in grants through this program. Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided more than $85 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts and universities. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar established the WaterSMART program in February 2010 – the SMART in WaterSMART stands for "Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow" – in cooperation with Commissioner Connor, Deputy Secretary David J. Hayes and Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle. WaterSMART grants are given for water and energy efficiency projects, system optimization reviews, advanced water treatment pilot, demonstration projects and climate studies.

To learn more about the WaterSMART Program, please visit # # #

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.

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