News Release Archive

Reclamation Names 2003 Water Conservation Award Winners

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, (303)445-3615,

For Release: December 19, 2003

Reclamation Commissioner John Keys III has announced the winners of the 2003 Commissioner's Water Conservation Award. Elmer McDaniels, manager, Tumalo Irrigation District; the Contra Costa Water District; the San Jacinto Resources Conservation District; and the Tom Green Water Control and Improvement District #1 were recognized for their proactive and innovative water conservation activities.

"This year's awards winners have demonstrated that they are efficiently managing water through creative means," said Keys. He added, "In the arid West, using water wisely has to be a priority, and this year's winners show that it can be accomplished."

The award recognizes the efforts of Reclamation project water users to incorporate water conservation planning, water measurement, demonstration, and implementation of water conservation plans into their daily operations.

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.

Editors Note: The following contains a more detailed description on the water conservation efforts that lead to the individual and districts to win the award.

Mr. Elmer McDaniels, Manager Tumalo Irrigation District (Oregon)

Elmer McDaniels, manager, Tumalo Irrigation District has proved to be an exemplary leader in water management and conservation in central Oregon and the Deschutes River Basin. McDaniels has worked closely with Reclamation for many years as an irrigation district manager.

McDaniels initiated a water measurement program within the District's distribution system to identify water use patterns, areas of loss, and problem areas. His success with water management, distribution, and delivery led both the Swalley and Arnold Irrigation Districts to follow with their own water measurement programs.

The District is seen as a leader in wise water stewardship by the community in general, environmental groups, and water management agencies in the State of Oregon.

Contra Costa Water District (California)

The Contra Costa Water District has a progressive and successful water conservation program. It has created one of the most accurate, large-scale water budget programs in the State of California. The District uses an accurate and consistent measuring method that incorporates horticulturally-appropriate factors into a water budget equation.

The Contra Costa Water District is now completing a water budget notification project whereby individual water budget site reports will be created quickly and easily. The reports will include a comparison to actual water consumption, and will calculate potential dollar savings from improved water management.

San Jacinto Resources Conservation District (California)

The San Jacinto Basin Resources Conservation District is a special district established to conserve soil and water resources within the San Jacinto Basin and Riverside County area in Southern California. Reclamation and the District have successfully maintained a partnership involving an Integrated Water Management Mobile Laboratory to assess and develop ways to improve the efficiency of irrigation systems.

Coordination with growers involves identification and installation of new or replacement monitoring sites, coordination of irrigation system evaluations, and site monitoring times when no irrigation should be occurring. By educating farm managers on ways to incorporate efficient water scheduling into their farm maintenance programs and monitoring them on an individual basis, this initiative will help reduce Colorado River water deliveries. The project is anticipated to save approximately 400 acre-feet of water per year while enhancing riparian habitat on approximately 240 acres.

Tom Green Water Control and Improvement District #1 (Texas)

Part of Reclamation's San Angelo Project, the Tom Green Water Control and Improvement District #1 is located in west-central Texas. The District supplies water to 117 farms and irrigates 10,000 acres. It has been progressive in modernizing its operations, including developing an effective water conservation plan, and implementing measures to increase the efficiency of its delivery system.

Implementation of conservation measures included developing a tailwater reuse system, installing pressurized pipelines, implementing a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system to provide automation of control gates, establishing remote monitoring of system conditions, and establishing a computerized water accounting system. In implementing the above measures, the District has been able to increase its delivery efficiency from 61 percent in 1997 to 91 percent in 2002.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.