Reclamation Funds Water Conservation Projects in Lower Rio Grande Valley

Media Contact: Mike Irlbeck, (512) 916-5650
Mark Andersen, 406-247-7610

For Release: June 30, 2003

A total of $1,225,000 in Federal funding has been allocated to three water conservation projects in the Lower Rio Grande Valley by the Bureau of Reclamation, according to Reclamation’s Great Plains Regional Director Maryanne Bach.

Bach said $752,669 was allocated to fully fund the 50 percent Federal share of a project by the Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 1 to replace about 5,300 feet of concrete-lined canal (the "Curry Main" canal) with a 72-inch-diameter pipeline. This will reduce water loss from seepage and improve operational efficiency.

Another $397,331 will be used to fund about 30 percent of the Federal share of a water conservation project for the Harlingen Irrigation District. Bach said that the project includes three components: 1) installation of a telemetering system in the District to provide water flow data and allow the District to track water usage; 2) replacement of about 32,000 feet of canal with small-diameter pipeline to reduce water loss from seepage; and 3) rehabilitation of about 13,000 feet of canal with a flexible polyurethane liner to reduce water loss.

Reclamation also allocated $75,000 to cover the Federal share of expenses incurred to date by the Cameron County Irrigation District No. 2 on a project to replace the District's 90-year old river pumping plant and to build about 6,000 feet of concrete canal.

Bach said, "Reclamation is pleased to assist in water conservation and water management improvements in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. When completed, these projects are estimated to save over 18,500 acre-feet of water per year."

The funds are provided under authority of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Resources Conservation and Improvement Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-576). The legislation authorized construction of four water conservation projects with 50 percent Federal funding. Project sponsors had to prepare project plans that met specified guidelines then Reclamation was required to review and prioritize the projects for construction with available funding. These three projects were submitted for funding in Fiscal Year 2003.

In December 2002 the Lower Rio Grande Valley Water Resources Conservation and Improvement Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-351) was signed. It authorized 15 additional water conservation projects. Work on all of the authorized projects is being closely coordinated between Reclamation, Lower Rio Grande irrigation districts, the Texas Water Development Board, and other entities – all with the expressed goal of conserving water and improving water management in this water short area of Texas.

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