Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom Reclamation Newsroom Channel http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49473 Reclamaton Releases Finding of No Signficant Impact and Final Environmental Assessment for River Mountains Solar Project
Boulder City, Nevada -- The Bureau of Reclamation has released a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the issuance of a Right of Use contract to River Mountains Solar, LLC for a solar facility on Reclamation land. The solar facility will be located entirely within the boundaries of the area that is permitted to Southern Nevada Water Authority for the River Mountains Water Treatment Plant, and will generate electricity for the plant. <P> The Draft EA was released for public review in May, 2015. The Final EA includes all comments received on the Draft EA. The FONSI and Final EA are posted on Reclamation’s website at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html">http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html</a> at the link titled, “River Mountains Solar Project Finding of No Significant Impact and Final Environmental Assessment.” <P> For questions on the project or to request a compact disk or paper copy of the FONSI and Final EA, please contact Ms. Streier at 702-293-8132. <P> The FONSI and Final EA were prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49294 Reclamation Releases Collaborative Moving Forward Report Addressing Future Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Challenges
Boulder City, Nev. -- The Bureau of Reclamation and stakeholders throughout the Colorado River Basin (Basin) released a report today that documents opportunities and potential actions to address the future water supply and demand imbalances projected in the 2012 Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study. <P> The Moving Forward Phase 1 Report is part of the Colorado River Basin Study Moving Forward effort launched in May of 2013. The Moving Forward program is an effort by the Department of the Interior (DOI) and stakeholders throughout the Basin to respond in a coordinated and collaborative manner in identifying and implementing actions that address projected water supply and demand imbalances, have broad-based support, and provide a wide range of benefits. <P> In Moving Forward Phase 1, funded jointly by Reclamation and the seven Colorado River Basin States, over 100 stakeholders spanning all water use sectors engaged in three workgroups focused on water use efficiency (urban and agricultural) and environmental and recreational flows. The Phase 1 Report includes chapters contributed by each workgroup. <P> "The impacts of the ongoing drought are widespread and are currently being addressed at the local and regional levels. Looking ahead to the longer-term challenges facing the Basin documented in the 2012 Study, it is clear that these challenges must be tackled collaboratively involving all sectors of use," Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp said. "The Phase 1 Report is a critical first step towards this level of collaboration." <P> Twenty-five opportunities were identified by the workgroups. Similar components resulting from each workgroup's individual set of findings include opportunities related to funding and incentives, data and tools, outreach and partnerships, coordination and integration, infrastructure improvements, and flexible water management. <P> Building from the Phase 1 Report, Phase 2 of the Moving Forward effort will be underway later this year and includes the selection and implementation of several pilot projects. <P> The Moving Forward Phase 1 Report is publicly available at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/MovingForward/index.html">http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/programs/crbstudy/MovingForward/index.html</a>. Comments are encouraged on the report during the next 90 days and will be summarized and posted to the website for consideration in Phase 2. <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49255 Reclamation releases Draft Environmental Assessment for River Mountains Solar Project
Boulder City, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation is issuing a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review and comment on a proposal to issue a Right of Use contract to River Mountains Solar, LLC for a solar facility on Reclamation land. The solar facility would be located entirely within the boundaries of the area that is permitted to Southern Nevada Water Authority for the River Mountains Water Treatment Plant, and would generate electricity for the plant. <P> The Draft EA is available for public review and comment on Reclamation’s website at: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html at the link titled, “River Mountains Solar Project Draft Environmental Assessment.” Comments must be postmarked by June 3, 2015. <P> Please send written comments to the Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Faye Streier, National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator, Bureau of Reclamation, P.O. Box 61470, Boulder City, NV 89006. Electronic comments may be submitted to fstreier@usbr.gov. <P> For questions on the proposal or to request a compact disk or paper copy of the Draft EA, please contact Ms. Streier at 702-293-8132. <P> The Draft EA was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49209 Reclamation releases Draft Environmental Assessment for City of Henderson Water Tank Site
Boulder City, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation is issuing a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for public review and comment on a proposal to re-issue a Right of Use contract to the City of Henderson for a water reservoir (tank) site and associated access road on Reclamation land. The site has been used by the City of Henderson since 1986 and has an existing water tank. <P> The Draft EA is available for public review and comment on Reclamation’s website at: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html at the link titled, “City of Henderson R-10/10A Water Tank Site Draft Environmental Assessment.” Comments must be postmarked by May 24, 2015. <P> Please send written comments to the Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: Faye Streier, National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator, Bureau of Reclamation, P.O. Box 61470, Boulder City, NV 89006. Electronic comments may be submitted to fstreier@usbr.gov. <P> For questions on the proposal or to request a compact disk or paper copy of the Draft EA, please contact Ms. Streier at 702-293-8132. <P> The Draft EA was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49148 Bureau of Reclamation Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary of Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Boulder City, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation and Federal, state and local partners are gathering at the Pivot Point Conference Center in Yuma, Arizona on April 7, 2015 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP). They will also dedicate the newly created Laguna Division Conservation Area (LDCA), a conservation area of over 1,110 acres downstream of Imperial Dam. <P> “What we achieved in the first 10 years of the LCR MSCP is remarkable, and what we will continue to do in the future together is exciting,” said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López. “To date, 11 conservation areas are thriving along the Colorado River from Hoover Dam to the southern border with Mexico.” <P> Starting at 7:30 a.m. (PDT), LCR MSCP informational posters and displays will provide the backdrop for remarks from Department of the Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Jennifer Gimbel, Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López, and state and local dignitaries from Nevada, Arizona and California. At 9:00 a.m., participating guests and LCR MSCP stakeholders will travel to the LCDA. At the site, Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp and Larry Voyles, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will mark the official dedication of the habitat project by leading the planting of the last mesquite trees. <P> “The Laguna Division Conservation Area is an example of how a broad set of partners have come together to meet our common goals,” said Regional Director Fulp. “After four years of clearing, contouring, infrastructure construction and planting, the habitat project is completed for the benefit of native species.” <P> "These efforts demonstrate that a diverse group of committed partners can apply active conservation measures that enable a wide array of wildlife species to thrive while water resources are managed to provide the life blood to people living in America's Southwest,” added Director Voyles. <P> Established in 2005 as a 50-year program with equal Federal and non-Federal funding, the LCR MSCP was created to balance the use of Colorado River water resources with conservation of native species and their habitats. The program is managed by Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region in collaboration with a Steering Committee representing 57 partner and stakeholder groups. <P> Media Advisory: For media planning on attending the LCR MSCP 10th Anniversary event and traveling to the dedication of the LDCA on the buses provided, please RSVP to Rose Davis at (702) 591-0029. The LCR MSCP asks that media ride the buses to protect the area from heavy vehicle traffic. High-resolution photographs and video will also be available through Reclamation. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49131 Bureau of Reclamation releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Planet Ranch Lease
Boulder City, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) today for the Planet Ranch Lease (Lease). The Draft EA details Reclamation’s proposed lease of 3,418 acres of land and 5,549 acre-feet of water per year within Planet Ranch in Mohave and La Paz counties in Arizona from the Freeport Minerals Corporation. The leased land and water will benefit the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program. <P> After issuing the Lease, Freeport Minerals Corporation would donate the land and water rights to the State of Arizona, represented by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, who would then acquire the Lease with Reclamation. This action is authorized and directed by the Bill Williams River Water Rights Settlement Act of 2014. <P> The Draft EA is available for public review and comment on Reclamation’s website at: <a href=" http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html "> http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g2000/envdocs.html</a>. <P> Comments must be postmarked by Friday, May 1, 2015. <P> Please send written comments to the Bureau of Reclamation, Attn: LC 2620, P.O. Box 61470, Boulder City, NV 89006. Electronic comments may be submitted to <a href=mailto:planetranchlease@usbr.gov> planetranchleaseea@usbr.gov</a>. To request a compact disk or paper copy of the Draft EA or for questions, please contact Ms. Faye Streier, Reclamation National Environmental Policy Act Coordinator, at 702-293-8132. <P> The Draft EA was prepared in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=49070 Reclamation Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Review on Proposed Sediment Control Structures
Yuma, Ariz. — Reclamation's Yuma Area Office announced today the release of a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for review and comment on the proposed construction of sediment control structures in select washes along the Colorado River near Blythe, California. <P> Under the proposed action, Reclamation will design, construct and maintain sediment control structures in select washes on the Colorado River (River) as a means to decrease the maintenance activities associated with removal of wash fans along the River. The sediment control structures will capture upland sediment before it reaches the river channel, thereby reducing the amount of maintenance and equipment required to operate the river efficiently and effectively. <P> Reclamation is proposing the construction of the sediment control structures to minimize river channel constrictions, enabling more efficient water delivery and channel flow capacity. By reducing wash fan deposits within the main channel, the structures will lessen the need to deploy heavy equipment into the River to conduct removal operations, minimizing impacts to bankline soils, aquatic species and riparian vegetation. <P> The Draft EA describes the anticipated environmental impacts resulting from the proposed action. Based upon analysis completed for the Draft EA, Reclamation has determined that constructing sediment control structures in selected washes will not result in significant impacts. The Draft EA is available online at: <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/yuma/environmental_docs/environ_docs.html">www.usbr.gov/lc/yuma/environmental_docs/environ_docs.html</a>. <P> <P> Any questions regarding this action should be addressed to Mr. Nick Heatwole, Environmental Protection Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, 7301 Calle Agua Salada, Yuma, AZ 85364. They can also be submitted by e-mail at <a href="mailto:nheatwole@usbr.gov">nheatwole@usbr.gov</a>. <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48706 Reclamation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the San Bernardino Clean Water Factory
TEMECULA, Calif. --- The Bureau of Reclamation and the City of San Bernardino Municipal Water District (SBMWD) will prepare a combined Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Clean Water Factory in San Bernardino County, California, to comply with both Federal and California requirements. A notice of intent is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on February 6, 2015. <P> The proposed Clean Water Factory is a water reclamation project to treat and reuse municipal wastewater currently discharged to the Santa Ana River. The reclaimed water will be used for groundwater recharge and landscape irrigation. The purpose of the project is to reduce dependence on imported water and establish a reliable, sustainable source of clean water. <P> SBMWD filed a Notice of Preparation (California State Clearinghouse no. 2014111012) on November 6, 2014. The Notice of Preparation is available at the Bureau of Reclamation's Southern California Area Office website: <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/socal/envdocs.html">www.usbr.gov/lc/socal/envdocs.html</a>. <P> The public and interested parties are invited to comment on the scope of the draft EIS/EIR to help identify alternatives and issues that should be analyzed. Federal, State and local agencies, tribes, and the general public are invited to participate in the environmental review. Comments should be mailed to Doug McPherson, Environmental Protection Specialist, Bureau of Reclamation, Southern California Area Office, 27708 Jefferson Avenue, Suite 202, Temecula, CA 92590, or submitted by e-mail to: <a href=mailto:dmcpherson@usbr.gov >dmcpherson@usbr.gov</a>. <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48388 Reclamation Announces Availability of NGS-Kayenta Mine Complex Scoping Summary Report
PHOENIX -- Reclamation accepted comments from the public during a scoping process initiated on May 16, 2014. A Notice of Intent, several press releases, and ten public meetings solicited input on what should be included in an Environment Impact Statement regarding the proposed lease extension and continuation of operations at the Navajo Generating Station. The scoping period formally closed on August 31, 2014. <P> A Scoping Summary Report is now available on the Project Website <a href="http://www.ngskmc-eis.net">www.ngskmc-eis.net</a>. The report provides further details on the efforts undertaken in carrying out the scoping process and a summary of comments received from the public. Reclamation has attempted to retain as much of the original language and intent of the comments as possible. The Report summarizes and groups the comments generally according to the areas of the EIS in which they will be addressed. <P> Should you have any questions concerning this matter, or the Scoping Summary Report, please contact Ms. Sandra Eto, Project Manager at 623-773-6254 or <a Href=mailto:NGSKMC-EIS@usbr.gov>NGSKMC-eis@usbr.gov</a>. <P> <P> <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48366 Reclamation to Lower Lake Moovalya One Foot in January 2015
BOULDER CITY, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation will lower the level of Lake Moovalya by approximately one foot in elevation for about two weeks beginning in early January 2015. Lake Moovalya is the small body of water behind Headgate Rock Dam north of Parker, Arizona. Reclamation is coordinating this activity with the Bureau of Indian Affairs to allow the Colorado River Indian Tribes to perform annual maintenance on their canals. <P> The drawdown is scheduled to begin the morning of Monday, January 5, 2015. The one-foot drop should be completed by Monday afternoon, but environmental conditions could vary the drawdown time. The temporary drawdown is expected to have minimal impacts on releases from Parker Dam and will not affect Colorado River flows below Headgate Rock Dam. <P> During the drawdown, the Lake Moovalya water level will stay at approximately elevation 363.40 feet; the water level is normally at elevation 364.40 feet. The lake should return to its normal elevation by Tuesday, January 20, 2015. However, a return to normal elevation may occur sooner or later than this date depending on operational or environmental conditions. <P> All river users should be aware that fluctuating or lower than normal river flows may expose or create natural hazards such as moving sandbars, gravel bars, unstable riverbanks, floating or submerged debris, or other unfamiliar obstacles. As always, caution should be exercised while using the river. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48129 Reclamation to temporarily close portions of the S-24 Highway near Imperial Dam for public safety due to road construction activities
Yuma, Ariz. -- Reclamation's Yuma Area Office is alerting motorists traveling to the Yuma Proving Ground from the California border area via the S-24 Highway that they will need to use alternate routes beginning the week of November 17. Reclamation contractors will begin intermittently closing portions of the highway near Imperial Dam to accommodate paving and resurfacing activities. Over the next several weeks, complete closure of a 1.28-mile section of the S-24 Highway will be necessary on an intermittent basis to ensure public safety and accommodate installation of new drainage culverts beneath the new roadway. <P> No public access of the Yuma Proving Ground via the S-24 Highway traveling east from California to Yuma Proving Ground will be permitted until construction activities are substantially complete. The remainder of the S-24 Highway, including the entrance to the Yuma Proving Ground from the Arizona side traveling west on S-24 from U.S. Route 95, will remain open during the construction period. The road and culvert construction work is expected to be completed in mid-December. <P> During construction, access to the Hidden Shores recreation area will be available only from the California S-24 route. The portion of the S-24 highway extending from the California-Arizona border to the perimeter of the western entrance to the Yuma Proving Ground will be closed for approximately one week or longer to accommodate the much needed road repairs. <P> "The S-24 Highway near Imperial Dam was originally paved in the late-1970s," said Maria Ramirez, Area Manager of Reclamation's Yuma Area Office. "Although portions of this highway have been resurfaced since then, some of the pavement has deteriorated substantially over the past several decades and needs to be addressed." <P> Resurfacing and repair of the S-24 roadbed in this area will consist of excavation and re-milling of the existing roadbed, grading of roadway shoulders and installation of new guard rails, drainage culverts and headwall structures. In conducting the road maintenance activities, the contractor will be operating bulldozers and excavators, haul trucks and pavement milling machinery in this area. <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48126 Bureau of Reclamation and the LA County Public Works Seek the Public’s Help in Designing New Stormwater Strategies
LOS ANGELES -- The Bureau of Reclamation and the LA County Public Works will host a public meeting on November 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., to help develop solutions to long?term water conservation and flood control challenges stemming from future population growth and climate conditions in local watersheds. The event will take place in the 3rd Floor Conference Room at the LA Metropolitan Transit Center, 1 Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles, 90012. <P> The meeting will follow a design charette format in which the group works collaboratively to craft a solution to a specific challenge. The public is invited to join in this effort in support of the LA Basin Stormwater Conservation Study. <P> During the charette, the study team will share information with a goal of getting the public's help in identifying and developing structural and nonstructural concepts to manage stormwater under future conditions. After the concepts are developed during the charette, they will undergo a preliminary analysis to determine if they meet a minimum set of evaluation criteria ? such as storage and infiltration capacity. The concepts that meet these minimum criteria will be further refined, and a detailed trade-off analysis will then be conducted. The LA Basin Study will recommend potential changes to the operation of stormwater capture systems, modifications to existing facilities, and development of new facilities that could help resolve future water supply and flood control issues. <P> The Los Angeles Basin Stormwater Conservation Study is funded with $1 million from the Bureau of Reclamation, $1.36 million from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District and $60,000 from other partners including the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. <P> It is part of the WaterSMART Program. WaterSMART is the U.S. Department of the Interior?s sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. Basin studies are comprehensive water studies that define options for meeting future water demands in river basins in the western United States where imbalances in water supply and demand exist or are projected to exist. <P> For more information on this Study, see its website at:<a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/socal/basinstudies/LABasin.html">http://www.usbr.gov/lc/socal/LABasin.html</a>. <P> <P> <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48055 Reclamation Plans to Sell Long-Term Water Storage Credits
PHOENIX ? Reclamation?s Phoenix Area Office is seeking offers to purchase long-term storage credits accumulated in the Tucson Active Management Area via effluent recharge into the Santa Cruz River. Interested parties may offer to purchase up to 20,000 acre-feet of credits each year, for the next three years, 2015 through 2018. <P> The proceeds of the sale will be deposited in the Cooperative Fund established under the Southern Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act of 1982. <P> Offers may be accepted for any portion of 20,000 acre-feet available annually. Multiple offers may be accepted for single or multiple years. Recovery of the credits will be the sole responsibility of the purchaser. Offers must be received by Dec. 10, 2014, to be considered. <P> A copy of the solicitation letter, containing additional requirements, restrictions, and information, can be acquired by contacting Mr. Lawrence Marquez at 623-773-6213, <a href=mailto:lmarquez@usbr.gov>lmarquez@usbr.gov</a> or by downloading from the internet at <a href="http://www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix">www.usbr.gov/lc/phoenix</a>. <P> For further information or questions call Lawrence Marquez at (623) 773-6213. <P> <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48028 Reclamation Contracts with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to Advance Tribal Clean Energy Projects
Boulder City, Nev. — The Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region entered into an agreement with the Energy Department’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to provide technical assistance to advance Tribal clean energy planning and development. The agreement is part of the commitments made by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in the July 2013 Technical Work Group Agreement related to Navajo Generating Station (NGS). <P> “The award of this agreement is another action that Reclamation is taking to advance the development of clean energy to benefit Tribal Nations affected by NGS operations. Reclamation continues to work diligently to support this effort,” said David Palumbo, Deputy Regional Director for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region. This component of NREL’s technical assistance contract is valued at just over $106,000. <P> This work includes identifying a portfolio of potential projects and providing technical assistance to further some of those projects that have a high likelihood of being implemented within the next five years. This initiative will also identify screening and prioritization criteria to be used to categorize potential clean energy projects. The work is being coordinated with several agencies, including the DOE Tribal Energy Program, DOI Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development. <P> NREL is also providing technical assistance to Reclamation in achieving long-term goals identified in a Joint Federal Agency Statement issued on January 4, 2013, by DOI, DOE and the EPA. These goals are to produce “clean, affordable and reliable power, affordable and sustainable water supplies, and sustainable economic development, while minimizing negative impacts on those who currently obtain significant benefits from NGS, including tribal nations.” <P> “NREL has been a great partner and Reclamation appreciates their expertise as we work to meet future energy related demands and requirements, including compliance with EPA rules affecting carbon emissions at the NGS,” added Deputy Regional Director Palumbo. <P> NGS is a 2,250-megawatt, coal-fired power plant located just outside Page, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. Operated by the Salt River Project, other participants in NGS include the United States, Arizona Public Service Company, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Tucson Electric Power and Nevada Energy. The United States’ share of NGS energy provides power to the Central Arizona Water Conservation District to deliver Colorado River water through the Central Arizona Project. <P>
http://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=48006 U.S. Department of the Interior and Western municipal water suppliers developing water conservation projects as part of a landmark collaborative agreement
Faced with the increasing probability of shortage on the Colorado River, municipal water providers in Arizona, California, Nevada and Colorado, and the Bureau of Reclamation are implementing a landmark Colorado River System Conservation program. <P> Beginning today, Reclamation is soliciting water conservation project proposals from Colorado River entitlement holders in Arizona, California, and Nevada. At a later date, water users in the Upper Basin will be invited to participate in this unique agreement. <P> Central Arizona Project, Denver Water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Southern Nevada Water Authority and Reclamation are providing up to $11 million to fund new Colorado River water conservation projects. The projects are intended to demonstrate the viability of cooperative, voluntary projects to reduce demand for Colorado River water. The program is soliciting project proposals from agriculture, and municipal and industrial Colorado River water entitlement holders. <P> "This partnership demonstrates our commitment to find solutions in meeting the future challenges we face in water supply and demand," said Reclamation's Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp. "Our goal is to put in place a suite of proactive, voluntary measures that will reduce our risk of reaching critical reservoir levels. This pilot program is a good first step toward reaching that goal and, depending upon its success, could be expanded in the future." <P> For more than a decade, a severe drought unprecedented in the last 100 years has gripped the Colorado River, reducing water levels in storage reservoirs throughout the Basin and increasing the risk of falling to critically low water levels. In July, reservoir levels in Lake Mead dipped to the lowest level since Hoover Dam was filled in 1937. <P> "A decade ago, municipal and agricultural agencies in California came together to help the state permanently reduce its use of Colorado River water. The goal of this latest effort is to develop new basin-wide partnerships to expand conservation activities during this historic drought for the benefit of all Colorado River water users," said Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. <P> "With shortage looming on the Colorado River, CAP, with its partners, is taking immediate steps to protect Arizona's Colorado River supply. The goal of this unique program is to develop new conservation programs from municipal, industrial, and agricultural water users from across the seven states which share the river," said Pam Pickard, Board President, Central Arizona Project. "The program saves water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell for the benefit of all Colorado River water users and promotes a healthy river system." <P> All water conserved under this program will stay in the river system, helping to boost the declining reservoir levels and protecting the health of the entire river system. The municipal agencies and the federal government agree that collaborative action is needed now, to reduce the risk to water supplies, hydropower production, water quality, agricultural output, and recreation and environmental resources across the entire Colorado River basin. The Colorado River and its tributaries provide water to nearly 40 million people for municipal use, and the combined metropolitan areas served by the Colorado River represent the world?s 12th largest economy, generating more than $1.7 trillion in Gross Metropolitan Product per year. <P> This first call for proposals is for Lower Basin parties. Upper Basin proposals will be requested in the future. <P> "We are pleased to see the momentum established in the lower basin. We look forward to a similar process starting soon in the upper basin with our partners along the Colorado River, including The Colorado Cattlemen's Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado River District, Southwestern Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited. Together, we will identify and fund pilot programs that demonstrate the viability of cooperative, voluntary compensated means to reduce water demand," said Jim Lochhead, CEO Denver Water. <P> Reclamation is currently requesting project proposals for 2015 and 2016 funding allocations. The due date for the responses to the solicitation is November 17, 2014. Following the two-year period, Reclamation and the municipal agencies will evaluate the effectiveness of the conservation projects funded by this program and determine if the successful programs could be expanded or extended to provide even greater protection for the Colorado River system. <P> "Managing the Colorado River requires a cooperative and concerted effort between diverse stakeholders, and this pilot program furthers that collaboration and provides another tool we can use in response to the drought," said John Entsminger, General Manager, Southern Nevada Water Authority. "This program is the mechanism for developing a wide array of adaptable and scalable conservation projects to provide real benefit to the overall river system." <P> <P>