Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Bureau of Reclamation has selected more than $2.5 Million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to stretch water supplies and conserve energy in the Mid-Pacific Region.
"Strong partnerships are crucial to creating a sustainable water and energy supply," said Secretary Salazar. "The WaterSMART program is designed to foster local partnerships and support innovative solutions to the water challenges of the future. This funding will not only help ensure a stable water supply for businesses and local residents but also create jobs, enhance the environment and strengthen local economies."
Secretary Salazar established WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) in February 2010 to facilitate the work of Interior’s bureaus in pursuing a sustainable water supply for the nation. The program establishes a framework to provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water and integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources. Since its establishment, WaterSMART has provided more than $118 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities.
"Providing sufficient water for agricultural, municipal, industrial, recreational and environmental needs is fundamental to the health and economies of communities across the western United States," said Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor. "This funding will support the efforts of several local communities to secure their water supplies and reduce dependence on imported water sources."
The water and energy efficiency grants are:
- Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency and BioGas Production Project, Delhi County Water District: $500,000 —The district, near Turlock, will install a biogas collection system at its existing wastewater treatment facility. The improvements will allow the recovery of 20,000 to 40,000 cubic feet of methane-rich biogas daily, or about 300 gasoline equivalent gallons of biogas per day, for use as a compressed natural gas transportation fuel or in power generation. In addition, the project includes construction of a pipeline and pumping system to deliver treated water for use at a nearby sod farm. The project is expected to result in water savings of 701 acre-feet annually by replacing water currently supplied through other sources.
- Packwood Creek Water Conservation Project, Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District: $400,000 — The district, in Tulare County, will install four new automated check structures and automate an existing check structure at Packwood Creek. The project will allow for increased quantities of otherwise unstorable storm and floodwaters to be delivered to existing basins for groundwater recharge. The project is expected to result in better management of about 29,360 acre-feet of water annually. The project also includes restoration of Valley Oak riparian forest habitat near the site to benefit a number of endangered species.
- Dodge Crossing Automation Project, Reclamation Funding Natomas Central Mutual Water Company: $240,100 — The company, near Sacramento, will automate the Dodge Crossing control structure, including a full Supervisory Control and Data Acquisitions station with flow meters at the nearby Chappel West Pump Station to improve operations. The project also includes installation of a hydraulically balanced control gate to minimize fluctuating water levels. The project is expected to result in water savings of 430 acre-feet of water annually, which will remain in the Sacramento River. The project is also projected to reduce energy consumption by about 15,300 kilowatt hours per year by avoided pumping currently required to capture operational spills.
- Gravity Conveyance and Conservation Project, Pixley Irrigation District: $750,000 — The district, in Tulare County, will work with the Lower Tule Irrigation District to increase the capacity of the existing Casa Blanca Canal and also construct a new 7.5-mile canal. Together, those improvements will facilitate the increased delivery of surplus water and flood flows and will also address current seepage losses. Once completed, the project is expected to result in water savings of about 9,850 acre-feet annually, which will allow for avoided groundwater use.
- Sacramento Suburban Water District North Antelope In-Conduit Hydroelectric and Pump Back Conjunctive Use Project, Sacramento Suburban Water District: $300,000 — The district will install a hydroelectric turbine in an existing transmission pipeline, which will allow the district to generate electricity as deliveries are received from Folsom Reservoir. The estimated annual capacity of the renewable energy system is 200 kilowatts. The project also includes installation of a new booster pump at the site, which will allow the district to reverse the flow of water when necessary to provide banked groundwater to other agencies connected to the pipeline. Together, the improvements are expected to increase water management flexibility so that groundwater can be used more effectively during dry periods.
- Regional Antelope Valley Water Bank Reclamation Funding, Semitropic-Rosamond Water Bank Authority: $300,000 — The authority will construct an 80-acre groundwater recharge basin, a recovery well, and four turnouts to the recharge facility to provide additional groundwater storage capacity in the Antelope Valley region of southern California. Through the project, which builds on initial phases completed with Reclamation funding, water provided by project partners will be delivered to the recharge basin for storage and delivered to each banking partner via recovery when requested, thereby increasing flexibility in the management of water. The project is expected to result in groundwater banking of about 6,300 acre-feet each year on average, and is also expected to result in water savings of 312 acre-feet each year through conversion of existing land use for the recharge basins.
- Automation of Structures on the V Line Canal, Truckee-Carson Irrigation District: $103,506 — The district will automate six check structures within the V-Line Canal to enable level and flow control for more efficient water conveyance and increased public safety. The project is expected to result in water savings of 3,445 acre-feet annually, which will allow for reduced diversions from the Truckee River.
A complete description of the WaterSMART program and all selected projects is available at: www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.