Reclamation investing $15.4 million to help communities mitigate drought and climate change impacts in Western United States

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Reclamation is providing $15.4 million in grants to projects in the West that allow them to prepare for and respond to drought. These projects support a proactive approach to drought as it increases resilience to the impacts of climate change.

A river running through tree lined hills. The sun is reflecting towards the camera on the water.

The American River in California. The El Dorado Water Agency will upgrade two sensors in a 12-sensor American River Hydrologic Observatory network. Photo: Reclamation

The projects selected will help communities prepare for the increased risk of a drought by increasing the reliability of water supplies and improving water management.

The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $15.4 million for projects in the West to prepare for and respond to drought. The WaterSMART Drought Program funding will leverage $54.9 million in non-federal cost-share to complete projects in seven Western states.

"More than 50 percent of the Western United States is in a severe drought or worse," said Chief Engineer David Raff. "The projects selected will help communities prepare for the increased risk of a drought by increasing the reliability of water supplies and improving water management."

Reclamation's Drought Response Program is part of WaterSMART. It supports a proactive approach to drought by providing water managers assistance to develop and update comprehensive drought plans. It also implements projects that will build long-term resiliency to drought and supports President Biden's new Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad as it increases resilience to the impacts of climate change.

"This successful program provides critical climate change adaptation tools for municipal, industrial, and agricultural water resource entities,” continued Raff.

The 18 selected projects are:

  • City of Scottsdale (Arizona), $1,500,000
  • Navajo Nation (Arizona), $947,750
  • Arvin-Edison Water Storage District (California), $500,000
  • City of Folsom (California), $750,000
  • City of Long Beach (California), $1,500,000
  • City of Sacramento (California), $1,500,000
  • City of Santa Barbara (California), $1,500,000
  • East Orange County Water District (California), $500,000
  • El Dorado Water Agency (California), $300,000
  • Merced Irrigation District (California), $957,824
  • Shafter-Wasco Irrigation District (California), $500,000
  • Southern San Joaquin Municipal Utility District (California), $1,500,000
  • City of Aspen (Colorado), $59,447
  • Southwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 3 (Kansas), $92,026
  • Las Vegas Valley Water District (Nevada), $848,372
  • Southern Nevada Water Authority (Nevada), $189,351
  • East Central Regional Water District (North Dakota), $733,081
  • Provo City (Utah), $1,500,000

For project descriptions and information on the program, please visit the Drought Response Program website.

In its recent report, Water Reliability in the West - 2021 SECURE Water Act Report, Reclamation found that the duration, severity and frequency of droughts are projected to increase in the future and further strain the many competing demands for water in the West.

"Collaboration with our customers and stakeholders is key as Reclamation seeks to address water management challenges as climate change causes more frequent and severe droughts," added Raff.

Reclamation’s Drought Response Program supports science-based decision-making in drought planning, and connects recipients with resources across Federal agencies, including NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System. “Drought resilience planning, guided by the best science, is critical to moving the nation from a reactive to a proactive approach to drought risk management,” said NIDIS Executive Director Veva Deheza. For more information on NIDIS and its Drought Early Warning Systems, please visit drought.gov.

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