The United States Bureau of Reclamation has selected 54 projects to share $40.99 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to help projects use water more efficiently and effectively in the western United States.
"The WaterSMART Program is helping Reclamation address the West's water challenges," said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. "Water and Energy Efficiency Grants provide water districts and communities the needed assistance to modernize their water delivery infrastructure and increase hydropower generation."
Projects are located in California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The types of projects receiving funding include canal lining, advanced water metering, flow measurement and real-time monitoring of water deliveries, and pressurized irrigation systems.
Examples of the selected projects are:
The City of Grand Junction, located in western Colorado, will receive $300,000 to upgrade 4,069 manual-read water meters with advanced metering infrastructure compatible meters. The city will also install a fixed network data collection system that will automatically collect and store hourly consumption data from its 9,867 customer meters. By providing customers with real-time data, the project is expected to result in annual water savings of 741 acre-feet, which is currently lost to customer overuse and leaks. As a result of the project, the city expects to reduce diversions from the Kannah Creek watershed, leaving water in the river system or otherwise making water available for other uses in the Upper Colorado River Basin. The Kittitas Reclamation District located near Yakima, Washington, will receive $975,000 to install 4,637 feet of double barrel 60-inch, steel reinforced polyethylene pipe on the existing earthen South Branch Canal. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 515 acre-feet, which is currently lost to seepage and operational spills. The water conserved through the project will be delivered to Manastash Creek for instream flows to benefit threatened species, including Coho and Chinook salmon. The project is consistent with a memorandum of agreement between Reclamation, the Washington Department of Ecology, and the District to address water management issues in over-appropriated or flow-impaired tributaries to the upper Yakima River.
The Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Project—District 2 located in eastern Montana, will receive $300,000 to convert 8,660 feet of open canal to a closed plastic irrigation pipeline. The District has experienced drought conditions over the last five years, and leakage and conveyance losses have contributed to water shortages and water scheduling issues. In response to system inefficiencies, the District has frequently had to divert and pump additional water from the Yellowstone River. By completing the project and increasing efficiency, the District will be able to reduce diversions. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 1,087 acre-feet currently lost to seepage, which will remain in the Yellowstone River.
Some projects complement on-farm improvements that can be carried out with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to accomplish coordinated water conservation improvements. A number of the projects selected are expected to help make additional on-farm improvements possible in the future, including the Eden Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and the Dixie Bench Ditch Lateral Association projects. The Dixie Bench Ditch Lateral Association, located in southeastern Idaho, will decommission 8,000 feet of earthen canal and install 7,040 feet of high-density polyethylene pipeline and pressurized polyvinyl chloride pipeline, bypassing the original canal. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 90 acre-feet, which is currently lost to seepage and operational spills. As a result of the project, the Association will reduce diversions from Maple Creek and reduce the need for imported water to meet late-season allocations, allowing water to remain instream. Once completed, the pipeline will complement a current Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program project to improve an existing irrigation system with pivots, wheel-line, pumping plants, and a variable frequency drive.
Learn more about all of the selected projects at www.usbr.gov/watersmart/weeg.