News Release Archive

Reclamation provides $710,771 in grants for drought planning to four entities in California and Montana

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

For Release: April 17, 2020

A river in the Western United States.
A river in the Western United States.
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has chosen four projects to share $710,771 for the development of a drought contingency plan or to update an existing plan. These drought contingency plans help communities proactively plan for the next drought to reduce or mitigate potential impacts. The four selected projects all required a match for this grant program.

“Every community in the Western United States needs to plan for drought,” said Commissioner Brenda Burman. “These grants will help local stakeholders work together to understand what actions they can take to build long-term drought resiliency.”

The Montana Department of Natural Resources will use their $200,000 to update Montana’s 1995 Drought Response Plan. The planning effort will include input and guidance from stakeholders representing government and water-use sectors. The new drought adaptation and response plan will provide a comprehensive overhaul of Montana’s drought monitoring, mitigation, and response framework. Montana experienced a significant flash drought in 2017, and at least some portion of the state has experienced extreme drought in 14 of the last 20 years. They are matching the grant with $200,000.

The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians will use their $110,771 to develop a comprehensive drought contingency plan for its reservation in southwestern Riverside County, California. The tribe delivers water for agricultural, residential and commercial uses. The tribe experienced extreme drought conditions from 2014 to 2016 and has faced multiyear drought conditions for approximately seven years. The tribe depends on groundwater sources and is concerned about public health, increased risk of wildfire and potential shortages of drinking water. The existing and potential drought risks on the reservation include impacts to residents, the tourist industry and the environment. They are matching the grant with $113,554.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District will use their $200,000 to develop a drought response plan to improve water supply reliability during times of shortage in Santa Clara County in Northern California. The water district provides water and other services to businesses, industrial and agricultural users, and approximately two million residents across 15 cities in Santa Clara County, California. The drought response plan will include a response framework for the district to employ during the next drought. In addition, the plan will integrate lessons learned from the 2012-2016 drought response and will be built off of the Bay Area Regional Reliability Drought Contingency Plan developed through Reclamation’s WaterSMART Drought Response Program. They are matching the grant with $200,000.

The Western Municipal Water District will use their $200,000 to convene a local task force to develop a comprehensive drought contingency plan that considers impacts to local water supplies and infrastructure that will help Western customers during the next drought. They are located in western Riverside County in California and serve more than 880,000 people. The planning area experienced a multiyear drought from 2014 to 2017. The district will leverage existing planning efforts such as its 1992 Drought Contingency Plan and 2015 Water Supply Shortage Contingency Plan. They are matching the grant with $200,000.

To learn more about the selected projects and Reclamation’s Drought Response Program, visit

Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure. Visit to learn more.

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