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Reclamation awards $20.9 million to six salinity control projects in Colorado and Utah

  • Reclamation awards $20.9 million to six salinity control projects in Colorado and Utah
    Colorado river (Photo: Unplash).

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Bureau of Reclamation
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.

The Bureau of Reclamation today awarded $20.9 million to fund six salinity control projects in Colorado and Utah through its Basinwide and Basin States Salinity Control Programs. These projects will reduce the amount of salt in the Colorado River and its associated impacts in the basin.

This funding will prevent approximately 11,661 tons of salt each year from entering the Colorado River. Quantified economic damages due to salinity in Colorado River water is currently about $332 million per year in the United States. It is estimated that damages would increase to $631 million per year without the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program.

“These awards will make improvements to off-farm irrigation systems like ditches and laterals in the Upper Basin States and prevent economic damages to downstream users by improving Colorado River water quality,” said Clarence Fullard, program manager for Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program. “When the projects are complete, they will benefit crop production and decrease water treatment costs and damage to water supply infrastructure in Lower Basin States.”

Ashley Upper and Highline Canal rehabilitation under the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program

These projects were selected through a competitive process, open to the public. Reclamation solicits, selects and awards grants through Notice of Funding Opportunity announcements to projects sponsored by non-federal entities that control salt loading in the Upper Colorado River Basin. One of the primary selection criteria is the lowest cost per ton of salt controlled. Reclamation will distribute the $17.5 million over the next 4 years to the state of Colorado and $3.4 million to the state of Utah.

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