WaterSMART - Sustain and Manage America's Resources For Tomorrow
Contact: Dan DuBray, 202-513-0574
The Nation faces an increasing set of water resource challenges. Aging infrastructure, rapid population growth, depletion of groundwater resources, impaired water quality associated with particular land uses and land covers, water needed for human and environmental uses, and climate variability and change all play a role in determining the amount of fresh water available at any given place and time. Water shortage and water-use conflicts have become more commonplace in many areas of the United States – even in normal water years. As competition for water resources grows – for irrigation of crops, growing cities and communities, energy production, and the environment – the need for information and tools to aid water resource managers also grows. Water issues and challenges are increasing across the Nation, but particularly in the West and Southeast due to prolonged drought and climate change.
These water issues are exacerbating the challenges facing traditional water management approaches, which by themselves no longer meet today's needs. The Department's WaterSMART Program, established through Secretarial Order 3297, establishes a framework to provide leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of various Department bureaus and offices. Through the Program, the Department is working to achieve a sustainable water strategy to help meet our Nation's water needs.
In FY2014, Reclamation will launch the Shared Investment Water Innovation Program (SIWIP) as a new WaterSMART element. SIWIP will competitively award cost-shared research funding to projects that bring together "dream teams" of complementary capabilities from across the water resources community working together to solve complex problems. U.S. manufacturing team members will be sought for technologies having market appeal so that U.S. industries are better positioned to transfer the Federal research investments into new products that can help grow the economy and help U.S. industries better compete in global markets. Research will focus on technologies such as water reuse, desalination, water conservation, water infrastructure, and hydropower generation. SIWIP will utilize the authority provided by Section 9509 of the SECURE Water Act.
The 2014 Reclamation budget includes $35.4 million for water sustainability efforts through competitive cost-share grants for conservation, water and energy management improvement projects, basin-wide efforts to evaluate and address the impacts of climate change, research, funding of water reuse and recycling projects through the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, the establishment and expansion of collaborative watershed groups, smaller-scale water conservation improvements and planning efforts through the Water Conservation Field Services Program, and providing leadership in sharing information on water conservation and sustainability through the WaterSMART Clearinghouse.
Reclamation will implement the $35.4 million requested in the President's budget as follows:
WaterSMART Program ($M)
|Title XVI Projects||$14.0|
|Cooperative Watershed Management Program||$0.3|
|Shared Investment Water Innovation Program||$1.0|
|Water Conservation Field Services Program||$3.4|
Within this total, $12 million is requested for WaterSMART Grants. Funding will be used to provide cost-shared assistance on a competitive basis for the following types of projects:
- Water and energy efficiency improvements that save water, increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in water management, address endangered species and other environmental issues, and facilitate transfers to new uses;
- Pilot and demonstration projects that address the technical and economic viability of treating and using brackish groundwater, seawater, impaired waters, or otherwise creating new water supplies within a specific locale;
- System optimization reviews that assess the potential for water management improvement and identify specific ways to implement those improvements; and
- Projects to develop climate analysis tools and information to more efficiently manage water resources in a changing climate.
With the funding requested in FY 2014, Reclamation will fund new WaterSMART Grants which generally will be completed within 2 to 3 years from the date of funding to encourage near-term impacts on water savings. With leveraged WaterSMART Grants, Reclamation will take an important step towards increasing water and energy sustainability on a West-Wide basis.
Reclamation has requested $4.7 million in funding under the Basin Study program in FY 2014. The Basin Study Program includes three complementary activities: (1) Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs); (2) West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments; and (3) Basin Studies. Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are co-leading the effort to implement the Desert and Southern Rockies LCCs in the Southwestern United States, including the Colorado River Basin and the Rio Grande Basin. The LCCs support the implementation of Secretarial Order 3289 through the Department's integrated plan for addressing climate change through cooperative landscape conservation. West-Wide Climate Risk Assessments develop baseline projections of risks and impacts to water supplies across the eight major river basins identified in the SECURE Water Act. Through Basin Studies, Reclamation partners with basin stakeholders to comprehensively assess current and potential water supply imbalances in river basins and impacts from climate change, and to identify mitigation and adaptation strategies to address those potential impacts. Such efforts are critical in dealing with the impacts of climate change coupled with record droughts and population increases, and are a primary activity for implementing the authorities within the SECURE Water Act.
Reclamation has requested $14 million to fund the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program in FY 2014. Title XVI projects reclaim and reuse wastewaters and naturally impaired ground and surface water in the 17 Western States and Hawaii. Under the Title XVI Program, project sponsors may receive Federal funding on a cost-shared basis for planning and pre-construction activities and construction of specific, congressionally authorized water recycling projects. Title XVI projects have a huge potential to stretch water supplies using both time-tested methodologies and piloting new concepts.
The ongoing Water Conservation Field Services Program (WCFSP), which includes funding for smaller-scale water conservation improvements and planning efforts, is also included as part of the WaterSMART Program. Reclamation has requested $3.4 million in 2014 for the WCFS Program, including cost-shared financial assistance as well as technical assistance from Reclamation staff.
Reclamation has also requested $250,000, to continue implementation of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program in FY 2014. In 2014, the Department will provide financial assistance to establish and expand collaborative watershed groups and may begin funding watershed restoration projects contingent on the availability of funding.
The WaterSMART Program is directly aligned with the Department's Priority Goal for Water Conservation. Reclamation's goal is to further enable capability to increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental uses in the western United States by 790,000 acre-feet by the end of 2014 through Reclamation's water conservation programs.
Last Updated: April 18, 2013
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