Hydropower Program

Power Program Purpose

  • Established in 1902, Reclamation is responsible for developing and conserving the Nation's water resources in the western United States. Reclamation's original purpose - "to provide for the reclamation of arid and semiarid lands in the West" - today covers a wide range of interrelated functions. These include providing municipal and industrial water supplies, hydroelectric power generation, irrigation water for agriculture, water quality improvement, flood control, river navigation, river regulation and control, fish and wildlife enhancement, outdoor recreation, and water-related research.

  • The Bureau of Reclamation's power program plays an important and long-term role in providing the Nation with a reliable, renewable source of energy, improving the quality of life for its citizens, and enhancing the economy. The power program has been and is continuing to be an integral part of this country's security and energy self-sufficiency goals.

  • Electricity produced at Reclamation facilities is used either internally at projects or sold as surplus power. The primary use of the power is for delivering water to meet the authorized purposes of the projects. Surplus power is marketed by Federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). The Federal PMAs market firm power at the lowest possible rates consistent with sound business practices. Preference for surplus power contracts is given to municipalities, public corporations, public and State agencies, and cooperatives or other non-profit organizations.

  • Revenues from power sales are used to repay project costs. In addition, power revenues also repay portions of other project costs, such as salinity control and irrigation.
Last Updated: 2/4/16