Commissioner Connor Visits Pueblo Irrigation Projects and Announces Drought Funding

Media Contact: Mary Perea Carlson , 505-462-3576

For Release: August 20, 2013

SANTO DOMINGO PUEBLO, N.M. - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor today toured irrigation projects funded by Reclamation at Santo Domingo and Cochiti Pueblos and announced additional drought funding for three Pueblos in the region. Connor announced $750,000 was secured to fund projects related to drought or wildfires.

"It is crucial for Reclamation to work closely with the Pueblos as we face severe drought and the threat of wildfires in the West," said Commissioner Connor. "We will continue to study irrigation on the Pueblos so we can quickly identify and move forward on work to mitigate the effects of limited water supplies."

Santo Domingo and San Felipe Pueblos will each receive funding to replace inefficient earthen ditches with pipe irrigation systems. Santo Domingo will receive $275,000. San Felipe will receive $225,000.

Santa Clara Pueblo will receive $250,000 to help with work caused by flooding resulting from the 2011 Las Conchas fire. Funding will be used to purchase sheet piling to protect the village from flood waters. Reclamation crews also built four berms to protect areas of the Pueblo from flooding last year.

At Santo Domingo Pueblo, Commissioner Connor was joined by officials from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a partner on some of the projects, as well as Pueblo officials from Cochiti, San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Santa Clara. The project visited at Santo Domingo is a laser leveling of farmland and a piping project similar to what will be constructed with the additional funding. At Cochiti Pueblo, the group saw a berm expanded by Reclamation crews to protect that village from flooding. The Pueblos of Cochiti and Santa Clara have become more vulnerable to flooding in recent years because forest fires have burned much of the vegetation in their watersheds, which increases the chance of flooding in any rain event.

In 2013, Reclamation provided more than $1.7 million in funding to Pueblos in New Mexico through its Native American Program, the Pueblo Irrigation Infrastructure Program, the Water Conservation Program and the Middle Rio Grande Project for various projects and studies.

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