2006 Appropriation Continues Funding for Animas-La Plata Project Construction

Media Contact: Barry Wirth, (801) 524-3774
Rick Ehat, (970) 259-1110

For Release: November 22, 2005

The President has signed the Fiscal Year 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which provides $56 million for the Animas La-Plata Project. This is the largest appropriation to date for the project and is $4 million higher than last year. Rick Gold, Reclamation's Upper Colorado Regional Director, said this year's funding level reflects the priority that Congress places on the project, particularly in light of the pressures placed on the federal budget. It also reflects the diligence on the part of all parties to work together.

Reclamation continues to move forward to complete this important component of the Ute Tribe's Indian water rights settlement, working in concert with the Ute Tribes and the Colorado and New Mexico project participants.

"We are pleased that this year's appropriations will support the current construction schedule for the project," said Gold. "The project at this time is more than 30 percent complete. However, because A-LP is a funding-driven project, some long term schedule adjustments are necessary."

Gold noted that the construction schedule for the project is being adjusted based on the Congressional appropriations history and the 2006 appropriation. These adjustments are being made following consultation with Animas-La Plata Project sponsors.

Because there is a direct correlation between funding levels and project schedules, Reclamation anticipates evaluating and adjusting the construction schedule twice annually -- once when the President presents his budget to Congress in February of each year, and again in the fall when Congress passes the annual appropriations bill.

The schedule is currently being updated based on the FY 2006 appropriations. The current funding will not affect the upcoming construction 2006 season. However, because of funding levels since the start of construction and in anticipation of continued varying levels, the planned completion of the project is being extended by between one and a half years to two and a half years. This means the completion will be adjusted from 2010 to between the spring of 2012 and the spring of 2013, all dependent upon appropriations levels in coming years.

Reclamation will meet with the general contractor for the project, the Weeminuche Construction Authority and the project sponsors, to plan the most efficient means to minimize any additional costs associated with the lengthened completion schedule and make other necessary adjustments based on funding.

As winter approaches, construction at the dam will be slowing down. Work is planned to continue on the outlet works tunnel, the Durango Pumping Plant, and other project features through the winter.

Reclamation will continue its regular meetings with the Project Construction Committee (PCC), which is comprised of the project sponsors. Planning results, reports on construction progress, schedules, contract adjustments, and budgetary issues are generally covered at the PCC meetings. The bimonthly meetings are open to the public, with schedules and locations posted on Reclamation's Animas-La Plata website.

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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:

Animas-La Plata Project Web Site