News Release Archive

Bureau of Reclamation Releases Water Markets Report

Collaborations and programs enhance flexibility in the use of water or facilities

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,
Martin Doyle, 202-208-3194,

For Release: December 08, 2016

WASHINGTON - The Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation released a report this week reviewing the role of Reclamation in water markets. For decades, water users in the West have used many different approaches to address water needs particular to their location. In some instances, these approaches have created market conditions in which buyers and sellers voluntarily trade water rights. Such water market transactions can often involve Reclamation facilities.

This new report, “Water marketing activities within the Bureau of Reclamation,” highlights the ways Reclamation has partnered with water users to enable such transactions. The report reviews a series of case studies which illustrate a tremendous amount of locally-led innovation. The cases also illustrate how locally-led transactions have created collaborations and programs that enable greater flexibility in the use of project water or facilities.

Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said, “States and local water users are quietly solving water resource challenges in the West through market-based agreements. This report will help us identify ways that Reclamation can enable and support continued innovation in the face of increasing pressures on scarce water supplies.”

Reclamation is continuing its role in supporting locally led water markets through a new grant program. Starting in Fiscal Year 2017, the WaterSMART grant program will provide grants to conduct planning activities to develop water marketing strategies to establish or expand water markets and water marketing transactions. Reclamation will make available $3 million for this program. This new funding opportunity is expected to be posted in February 2017.

Going forward, Reclamation will continue to work with states and local water users to promote innovation through water markets in order to provide flexibility, promote conservation and stretch scarce water supplies.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.

Relevant Link:

Water Marketing Activities within the Bureau of Reclamation