What Reclamation Does

Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River.

Today, Reclamation is the largest wholesaler of water in the country. We bring water to more than 31 million people, and provide one out of five Western farmers (140,000) with irrigation water for 10 million acres of farmland that produce 60 percent of the nation's vegetables and 25 percent of its fruit and nut crop.

Reclamation is also the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States. Its 53 power plants annually provide more than 40 billion kilowatt hours generating nearly a billion dollars in power revenues and produce enough electricity to serve 3.5 million homes.

Today, Reclamation is a contemporary water management agency with a strategic plan outlining numerous programs, initiatives and activities that will help the western states, Native American tribes and others meet new water needs and balance the multitude of competing uses of water in the West. Our mission is to assist in meeting the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the environment and the public's investment in these structures. We place great emphasis on fulfilling our water delivery obligations, water conservation, water recycling and reuse, and developing partnerships with our customers, states and Native American Tribes, and in finding ways to bring together the variety of interests to address the competing needs for our limited water resources.

Learn more about:

  • Water management
  • Hydropower
  • Invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels
  • Climate Change
  • River Restoration
Last Updated: 10/3/17