Bureau of Reclamation awards $8.3 Million to 15 drought resiliency projects

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The funding will help communities in California, New Mexico and Utah build resilience to drought

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By proactively planning for drought, communities are able to reduce its impact and improve their ability to recover once the rain and snow start to fall.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that Reclamation has awarded $8.3 million to 15 projects in California, New Mexico and Utah for the preparation and response to drought. The types of projects selected increase water management flexibility and water supply reliability. These projects also reduce the need for drought emergency response actions. The funding provided is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior's WaterSMART initiative.

"Helping western states prepare and build resiliency for future drought is an essential part of Reclamation’s 116-year history,” Commissioner Burman said. "By proactively planning for drought, communities are able to reduce its impact and improve their ability to recover once the rain and snow start to fall.”

There were 13 projects selected in California and one each in New Mexico and Utah. To learn more about all the projects selected, please visit Reclamation's Drought website at https://www.usbr.gov/drought.

The Elephant Butte Irrigation District in Las Cruces, New Mexico, will receive $180,670 to develop and modernize its infrastructure to facilitate watershed scale flow management, stormwater harvesting and aquifer recharge. The project will allow for faster information transfer and shortened personnel response time resulting in better water capture and water management during storm events. The district will also bring $181,784 in non-federal funds to the project.

Ephraim City in central Utah will receive $645,255 to construct a new water well capable of producing up to 328 acre-feet of water per year, increasing the annual supply of the city by 28-percent. It will also connect a short pipeline from the well to the city's potable water supply. This well will provide the city with a new source of water and improve their overall potable water quality over extended periods of drought. This project was identified in the city's water management and conservation plan. They are also contributing $788,645 in non-federal funds.

The San Juan Water District and Sacramento County Water Authority in California will complete two interties that were identified as mitigation actions in the North American Basin Regional Drought Contingency Plan recently completed under Reclamation's Drought Response Program. They will construct an intertie by SJWD to receive water from the Placer County Water Authority and the SCWA will complete an intertie to deliver groundwater to the City of Sacramento. They will receive $300,000 from Reclamation while contributing $322,185 in non-federal funds to the project.

Drought resiliency projects are part of Reclamation's Drought Response Program. It helps communities recognize the next drought in its early stages, learn how droughts will impact them, and protect themselves during the next drought. It is structured to encourage an open and inclusive planning effort to build long-term resiliency to drought. Learn more at https://www.usbr.gov/drought/.

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 and attention to local water conflicts. Visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart for additional information about WaterSMART.

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Peter Soeth
Bureau of Reclamation
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