Reclamation Releases Rural Water Program Assessment Report, Seeks Comments on Proposed Funding Criteria

Media Contact: Dan DuBray, 202-513-0574

For Release: July 09, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking comments on its Rural Water Assessment Report that reviews the status of potable water projects for rural areas, provides Reclamation's plan for completing congressionally authorized projects, and includes proposed construction funding prioritization criteria for projects in the Rural Water program.

"Rural communities, including farms and ranches, are the backbone of America. Water supply infrastructure is critical and Reclamation has developed a comprehensive strategy for effectively using available resources towards the construction of rural water projects authorized for its involvement," Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said. "Given the budgetary uncertainties, and rising construction costs, the strategy focuses on maximizing the impact of its limited available funding by establishing clear programmatic goals and a set of transparent prioritization criteria. This approach is intended to continue to make meaningful progress in the construction of rural water projects and we look forward to receiving comments on our proposed strategy and criteria."

The Rural Water Assessment Report also describes federal programs supporting the development and management of water supplies in rural communities in the 17 western states and describes Reclamation's plans to coordinate the Rural Water Supply Program with similar programs managed by other agencies.

The proposed strategy for funding rural water construction projects describes the prioritization criteria intended to be used in a two-step process for requesting rural water construction appropriations. Reclamation is proposing to evaluate and rank projects using the criteria, then allocate requested funds to reflect project priorities and the ability of sponsors to complete phases that will deliver water and other project benefits.

The comment period for the Report is 60 days. Comments are now due by 5 p.m., (MDT), Sept. 10, 2012.

Please visit www.usbr.gov/ruralwater to read the Rural Water Program Assessment Report or learn more about the Rural Water Program.

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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.

Relevant Link:

Rural Water Program