This budget supports our efforts to provide safe, sustainable and resilient water and hydropower through investment in infrastructure development, improvements and maintenance, dam safety, and water rights settlements with Tribal nations.
(PRWEB) February 09, 2016
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget request for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation continues President Obama’s commitment to provide robust investments in the safety, reliability and efficiency of America’s water infrastructure and in conservation, reuse and applied science to address the nation’s water supply challenges, especially in the West.
"This is a smart, innovative and forward-looking budget that invests in Interior’s key missions – now and in the future – so we can continue to serve the American people," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "The President’s budget provides targeted investments to create economic opportunities by growing our domestic energy portfolio, building climate resilient communities, and revitalizing America’s national parks as we mark their 100th anniversary. Consistent with the President’s abiding commitment to Indian Country, this budget provides critical support for Tribal self-determination and economic advancement, including a historic transformation of the Bureau of Indian Education school system to help improve education for Indian children."
"President Obama’s budget for Reclamation reflects a strong commitment to our ongoing mission of effectively managing water and hydropower in the West," Commissioner Estevan López said. "This budget supports our efforts to provide safe, sustainable and resilient water and hydropower through investment in infrastructure development, improvements and maintenance, dam safety, and water rights settlements with Tribal nations."
The President FY 2017 budget request of $13.4 billion for the Department of the Interior reflects his commitment to meeting Federal trust responsibilities to Native Americans, conserve vital national landscapes across the Nation, support the next century of our National Park Service, and allow for responsibly managing energy development on public lands and offshore areas. The Budget in Brief is online: http://www.doi.gov/budget and http://www.doi.gov/budget/2017/Hilites/toc.html.
The FY 2017 budget proposal also balances needs for climate variability adaptation, water conservation, improving infrastructure and sound science to support critical decision making and ecosystem restoration.
The extreme and prolonged drought facing the West affects major U.S. river basins in virtually every western state. The effects of the current drought on California water, its agricultural economy and its communities are topics of nationwide concern. The Colorado River Basin — crucial for seven states and several Tribes, in addition to two countries — is also enduring historic drought. About 33 million people rely on the Colorado River for some, if not all, of their municipal water needs.
Reclamation’s dams, water conveyance and power generating facilities are valuable components of the Nation’s infrastructure. Protecting and extending the benefits provided by these structures are among the many significant challenges facing Reclamation over the next several years and beyond. Reclamation’s water and power projects and activities throughout the western United States are a foundation for providing essential and safe water supplies, renewable hydropower energy and sustain ecosystems that support fish and wildlife, recreation and rural economies. Climate variability and competing demands are increasingly affecting already-strained systems. Reclamation’s FY 2017 budget addresses these challenges and reflects a very deliberate approach to accommodating mission priorities.
The FY 2017 budget proposes a total of $1.1 billion for Reclamation. The $813.4 million proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account includes $383.5 million for resource management and development activities. This funding provides for planning, construction, water conservation activities, management of Reclamation lands, and actions to address the impacts of Reclamation projects on fish and wildlife. The proposal also emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by including $429.9 million to fund operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities, including dam safety.
The budget emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner, ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities. It also emphasizes Reclamation's core mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.
To meet trust and treaty obligations, Reclamation’s budget request lists Indian water rights settlements among the highest priorities. The FY 2017 budget proposes $106.2 million for a new account entitled Indian Water Rights Settlements to ensure continuity in the construction of the authorized projects and to provide transparency in handling these funds. This includes $87.0 million for the ongoing Navajo-Gallop Water Supply Project, as well as $12.8 million to continue implementation of the Aamodt settlement, and $6.4 million to continue the Crow Tribe settlement in Montana. These settlements will deliver clean water to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, the Taos Pueblo of New Mexico, the Pueblos of Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonsi & Tesuque in New Mexico named in the Aamodt case and the Crow Tribe of Montana.
The President’s proposed budget for Reclamation calls for $61.5 million for the WaterSMART “Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow” Program to assist communities in optimizing the use of water supplies by improving water management. The WaterSMART Program components include: WaterSMART grants funded at $23.4 million; the Basin Studies Program, $5.2 million; the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program, $21.5 million; the Water Conservation Field Service program, $4.2 million; the Cooperative Watershed Management program, $1.8 million; the Drought Response program, $4.0 million; and the Resilient Infrastructure program, $1.5 million.
Other specifics of the budget request include:
- Reclamation has a responsibility to focus on the protection and restoration of the aquatic and riparian environments affected by its operations. Highlights of Reclamation's ecosystem restoration activities, many of which support Endangered Species Act (ESA) programs, include:
o $16.9 million for the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program to provide long-term ESA compliance for river operations.
o $27.3 million for ESA recovery implementation programs, including $19.9 million to implement the Platte River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program and $4.9 million for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Programs.
o $16.0 million for the Klamath Project supports wildlife refuge and environmental needs, studies and initiatives to improve water supplies to address the competing demands of agricultural and tribal interests, and facilities operations and maintenance activities.
o $36.0 million for the California Bay-Delta Restoration, which focuses on the health of the Bay-Delta ecosystem and improving water management and supplies. The budget will support the co-equal goals of environmental restoration and improved water supply reliability, under the following program activities: $2.2 million for a Renewed Federal State Partnership, $5.3 million for Smarter Water Supply and Use, and $28.1 million for Habitat Restoration. These program activities are based on the Interim Federal Action Plan for the California Bay-Delta issued December 22, 2009.
o $55.6 million for the Central Valley Project (CVP) Restoration Fund to continue funding a variety of activities to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations in the CVP service area of California.
o Within California’s Central Valley Project, $11.8 million and an additional $1.5 million in the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund for the Trinity River Restoration program.
o $9.2 million, as part of the Middle Rio Grande Project budget, to support environmental activities developed through an Endangered Species Act Collaborative Program.
o $18.0 million for the Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project for implementing the Federal Columbia River Power System biological opinions.
- $110.7 million to operate, manage and improve Central Valley Project in California. More than one-half of that amount provides for operation and maintenance of project facilities, including $16.4 million for the Replacements, Additions, and Extraordinary Maintenance program, which provides for modernization, upgrade and refurbishment of facilities throughout the Central Valley. The remainder supports studies and initiatives to improve water supplies and environmental needs.
- $38.1 million for rural water projects to undertake the design and construction of five projects and operation and maintenance of tribal features for two projects intended to deliver potable water supplies to specific rural communities and tribes located primarily in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota.
- $15.8 million for the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project, which will continue funding grants to implement conservation measures and monitor the effects of those measures on the river diversions. Funding is also included to continue construction on fish passage facilities at Cle Elum Dam.
- $86.1 million for the Dam Safety Program to continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities throughout Reclamation’s inventory of dams. Corrective actions are planned to start or continue at a number of facilities. A focus continues to be modifications at Folsom Dam (California).
- $26.2 million for site security to continue Reclamation’s ongoing site-security program, which includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.
The budget request for Reclamation is available at http://www.usbr.gov/budget.
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 Reclamation’s website at http://www.usbr.gov