Released On: May 11, 2012
"Strong partnerships are crucial to creating a sustainable water and energy supply," said Secretary Salazar. "The WaterSMART program is designed to foster local partnerships and support innovative solutions to the water challenges of the future. This funding will not only help ensure a stable water supply for businesses and local residents but also create jobs, enhance the environment and strengthen local economies."
The Water and Energy Efficiency Grants are:
Bostwick Irrigation District in Nebraska, Water Conservation Piping Project: $300,000 - The District will convert seven miles of open ditch to buried pipe, an improvement expected to result in water savings of 1,573 acre-feet of water annually that is currently being lost to seepage and evaporation. The project also includes installation of a variable frequency drive to increase pumping efficiency. Water conserved as a result of this project will be stored in the Harlan County Lake, on the Republican River to maintain high lake levels and future water supply and for use during drought years.
Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District, Cambridge Canal Automation Project: $299,715 - The District will automate and install a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system on the headgate of Cambridge canal, and will also automate four other canal check structures. Automating the system will allow the District to monitor the upstream pool elevation at the diversion dam and adjust the gates to capture flows as effectively as possible. The project is expected to result in water savings of approximately 3,074 acre-feet of water annually, which will remain in the Harry Strunk Lake.
Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Republican River Basin Ground and Surface Water Protection Program: $100,000 - The District will provide rebates to farmers for soil-moisture probes and related soil-moisture technology to reduce water use in a 1.7 million-acre region of southwest Nebraska. The project is expected to result in water savings of 2,160 acre-feet annually, which will remain in the High Plains Aquifer. The District calculates that 962,000 kilowatt hours of energy will be saved through avoided pumping costs once this project has been implemented.
Secretary Salazar established WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) in February 2010 to facilitate the work of Interior's bureaus in pursuing a sustainable water supply for the nation. The program establishes a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water and integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources. Since its establishment, WaterSMART has provided more than $118 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities.
"Providing sufficient water for agricultural, municipal, industrial, recreational and environmental needs is fundamental to the health and economies of communities across the western United States," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "This funding will support the efforts of several local communities to secure their water supplies and reduce dependence on imported water sources."
A complete description of the WaterSMART program and all selected projects is available at: http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/.
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