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Interior Launches WaterSMART Initiative

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today signed a Secretarial order establishing a new water sustainability strategy for the United States. Salazar showcased the Department of the Interior's WaterSMART Initiative at a press conference featuring a geospatial presentation on water supply and demand in the high-tech operations center at the Department's headquarters.The "SMART" in WaterSMART stands for "Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow."

"The federal government's existing water policies and programs simply aren't built for 21st century pressures on water supplies," Salazar said. "Population growth. Climate change. Rising energy demands. Environmental needs. Aging infrastructure. Risks to drinking water supplies. Those are just some of the challenges."

He noted that the 2011 budget proposed by President Obama for the Department of the Interior doubles the current enacted 2010 appropriations for water programs to move the initiative forward. It includes $72.9 million for the WaterSMART program, which is a total increase of $36.4 million over 2010.

"Local entities -- water districts, water users, and local governments --have demonstrated the greatest foresight and leadership in recent years," added Salazar. " I believe it is time for the federal government to join the movement toward a more sustainable water future."

As part of his order, Salazar announced that he is directing the Department to increase available water supply for agricultural, municipal, industrial, and environmental uses in the western United States by 350,000 acre-feet by 2012.

Joining the Secretary were Deputy Secretary David Hayes, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Anne Castle, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Mike Connor, and other Interior officials.

Salazar noted that stakeholders from the seven Colorado River Basin states will participate in a WaterSMART workshop tomorrow in Nevada to help frame the new initiative and to discuss issues such as how to adjust to the anticipated 20% reduction in water flow in the Colorado River due to climate change.Assistant Secretary Castle, who made the geospatial presentation today, is convening the workshop in Nevada tomorrow.

The WaterSMART Secretarial Order has several parts, all of which are focused on improving water conservation and helping water and resource managers make wise decisions about water use, including:

* A national framework to integrate and coordinate water sustainability efforts of the Department and its federal, state and private partners WaterSMART expands the Bureau of Reclamation's various grant programs and its studies of entire river basins. WaterSMART will also give a big boost to the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water Census, which will be conducted for the first time in 30 years.
* A WaterSMART Clearinghouse for the American public. Through the clearinghouse, the Department will provide leadership and assistance to state and local governments, tribal nations, and others in water conservation and sustainable water strategies. The clearinghouse will bring all stakeholders together to identify best practices in water conservation, incentives, and the most cost-effective technologies.
* Criteria that the Department applies to identify and support energy projects and actions that promote sustainable water strategies. WaterSMART will identify the water footprint of various energy technologies and make sure that it is considered as part of any decision process on the development of such technologies.
* A water footprint reduction program for facilities and water-consuming operations to achieve and exceed the goal established by President Obama to reduce overall consumption of potable water by 26 percent by 2020 and industrial, landscaping, and agricultural water by 20 percent by 2020.

WaterSMART will coordinate with the Department's Task Force on Energy and Climate Change and its Climate Change Response Council, working with the Department's regional Climate Science Centers and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives to obtain the best available science and ensure sustainable water strategies in the field offices of bureaus and agencies. The program will make recommendations for enhancements to information collection, analysis and delivery where needed.

Subject: Department of the Interior WaterSMART Program -- Sustain and Manage America's
Resources for Tomorrow
Sec. 1 Purpose. To secure and stretch water supplies for use by existing and future generations
to benefit people, the economy, and the environment, and identify adaptive measures needed to
address climate change and future demands. Through this Order, the Department of the Interior
(DOI) will pursue a sustainable water supply for the Nation by establishing a framework to
provide federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and
energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water
conservation activities of the various Interior bureaus and offices. DOI's efforts will contribute
to the development of domestic expertise in water-related technologies and sustainable water
management practices, thereby enhancing U.S. competitiveness in providing solutions to world-
wide water issues in the 21st century.
Sec. 2 Background. Water is our most precious natural resource, and is increasingly stressed
by the demands our society places on it. Adequate water supplies are an essential element in
human survival, ecosystem health, energy production, and economic sustainability. Significant
climate change-related impacts on water supplies are well documented in the scientific literature
and scientists are forecasting changes in hydrologic cycles. DOI must address and plan for these
DOI is uniquely positioned to provide leadership in working toward the goal of sustainable water
supplies. DOI is the largest wholesaler of water in the country, providing water for municipal,
agricultural, and environmental purposes, and administering cost share programs for water
efficiency, recycling, and reuse projects. It is the steward of more than one-fifth of our Nation's
lands, which include thousands of miles of streams and rivers and the headwaters of many major
watersheds, and is charged with protection of those ecosystems, including fish, wildlife, and
plants, and their habitat. DOI holds millions of acres of Indian reservations and other lands, and
associated water resources, in trust for the benefit of Indian tribes and individuals. It plays an
important role in the development of both conventional and renewable energy, which can require
substantial quantities of water. Finally, DOI monitors and assesses the Nation's water resources
and water use, and provides unbiased scientific information needed by water managers.
Accordingly, DOI is exceptionally qualified to lead the way in pursuing water sustainability in
the U.S. and has a responsibility to do so. The solutions employed in the U.S. will be applicable
elsewhere, providing opportunities to avoid projected water crises worldwide where water use in
the past century has grown twice as fast as world population.
Aggressive action is required to address future water supply challenges, including degradation in
water quality caused by pollution and land use practices, decreases in flow, declines in
groundwater levels, and aging water infrastructure. Anticipated increases in population,
development of tribal water rights, and renewed emphasis on domestic energy development will
place additional demands on already stressed supplies. Ecosystems require adequate supplies of
clean water and appropriate timing and volume of critical flows to survive and flourish, and
recognition of the need for water to support environmental values is increasing over time.
Poor water quality and water shortages often impact low income communities, Native American
communities and reservations, Insular Areas, and other disadvantaged sectors of the economy
more intensely than other populations. Addressing water equity issues is one of the DOI's
highest priorities.
Sec. 3 Authority. This Order is issued under the authority of Section 2 of Reorganization Plan
No. 3 of 1950 (64 Stat. 1262), as amended; the SECURE Water Act (P.L. 111-11, Subtitle F,
Sections 9501 -- 9510); and Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Environmental,
Energy and Economic Performance.
Sec. 4 WaterSMART Program. This Order establishes the DOI WaterSMART Program --
Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow. Through this Program, DOI will
provide leadership in identifying strategies to ensure that this generation and generations to come
will have adequate supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activity, recreation, and
ecosystem health. Each bureau and office will exercise its discretion within the scope of its
mission to carry out the purpose of this Order to sustain and manage water resources.
a. Coordination. DOI will maximize the effectiveness of the water sustainability
efforts and programs of DOI agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation's Title XVI, Basin
Studies Programs, WaterSMART Grants, and the U.S. Geological Survey's WaterSMART
Availability and Use Assessment program by coordinating among them and with ongoing water
conservation and sustainability programs of other federal and state agencies.
(1) The DOI WaterSMART Program will coordinate with the Task Force on
Energy and Climate Change to identify the water footprint of various energy technologies in
order to ensure that this use of resources is considered as part of any decision process on the
development of such technologies.
(2) The DOI WaterSMART Program will also work with the Energy and Climate
Change Council, the DOI Climate Science Centers, and the Landscape Conservation
Cooperatives to obtain the best available science on the impacts of climate change on water
supplies and to ensure integration of sustainable water strategies within the field offices of the
Department's bureaus and agencies.
(3) The DOI WaterSMART Program will coordinate with the relevant offices
within the Office of the Assistant Secretary -- Policy, Management and Budget to develop a
water footprint reduction program for facilities and water-consuming operations within the
Department; provide input and information on water conservation methods and technology to
bureaus and offices; and work together with the Senior Sustainability Officer (the Assistant
Secretary -- Policy, Management and Budget) in order to achieve and exceed the Department's
water consumption goal set forth in Executive Order 13514.
b. WaterSMART Clearinghouse. This Order establishes the WaterSMART
Clearinghouse as a public resource to provide leadership and assistance to state and local
governments, tribal nations, and others in coordinating and integrating water conservation and
sustainable water strategies. The Clearinghouse will convene interested governmental entities,
water user and supplier organizations, conservation and scientific organizations, and others to
identify best practices in water conservation, incentives, the most cost-effective technologies that
stretch existing water supplies, and actions that integrate energy and water policies, including
land use planning. Through the WaterSMART Clearinghouse, DOI will also facilitate access to
and information sharing for conservation-related government grants, funding, and programs.
The Clearinghouse will provide appropriate recognition and focus national attention on
outstanding examples of water sustainability efforts. The WaterSMART Clearinghouse will
assist the U.S. in securing its own water future while taking a leadership role in providing the
technologies and management strategies that will be key to addressing global water issues in the
21st Century.
c. Integration of Energy and Water Policies: Water and energy are inextricably linked.
Water shortages can affect energy production, energy development requires substantial quantities
of water, and reduction in water demand can reduce the energy requirements for water
distribution, to name just a few of the connections. The WaterSMART Program will ensure that
DOI applies criteria that identify and support projects and actions that promote sustainable water
strategies, and support development of incremental hydroelectric power generation.
d. Scientific Information to Support Sustainable Water Supplies. The DOI
WaterSMART Program will adhere to the principle that one cannot adequately manage a
resource that is not measured. As such, the Program will evaluate the information needed for
sound decision-making on sustainable water and will determine whether there is adequate
information about the availability, quality, and use of water across the Nation for this purpose.
The Program will make recommendations for enhancements to information collection, analysis
and delivery where needed.
Sec. 5 WaterSMART Task Force. A WaterSMART Task Force is established to implement
the WaterSMART Program. The Task Force is chaired by the Assistant Secretary -- Water and
Science and includes the Assistant Secretaries, heads of bureaus, and the Solicitor, or their
designees. The Secretary and Deputy Secretary serve as ex officio members of the Task Force.
The Task Force may enlist the services of subject matter or scientific experts to inform its
actions. The Task Force is responsible for:
a. Developing a strategy and implementing the DOI WaterSMART Program. The DOI
WaterSMART Strategy will be documented in a written plan, which will be provided for public
review and comment. Nothing in this Strategy is meant to, or in fact does, affect the substantive
or legal rights of third parties or bind the Federal agencies.
b. Taking appropriate action to further the policies in this Order, including conducting
education, awareness, and outreach activities.
c. Working within existing relationships and developing new partnerships with the
States and Tribes to collaborate on implementation of the WaterSMART Strategy.
d. Evaluating and making recommendations for incorporating water conservation
criteria and the water/energy nexus in the Department's planning efforts, including
recommending measures to reduce conflict in water management.
Sec. 6 Implementation. The Assistant Secretary -- Water and Science is responsible for
ensuring implementation of all aspects of this Order. This responsibility may be delegated, as
appropriate. This Order does not alter or affect any existing duty or authority of individual
Sec. 7 Expiration Date. This Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect until its
provisions are converted to the Departmental Manual or until it is amended, superseded, or
revoked, whichever occurs first.

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