Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the Bureau of Reclamation has selected 54 new projects in western states to receive a total of $24 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. Once funded and completed, these projects will save an estimated 102,221 acre-feet of water each year, or enough water for more than 400,000 people. In addition, 24 of the projects are expected to save more than 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough electricity for more than 1,300 households.
"Drought, climate change, growing populations, energy demands and basic environmental needs are stressing our finite water and energy supplies," said Secretary Salazar. "Since we established the WaterSMART program, the 92 grants awarded will result in savings of enough water for an estimated 950,000 people. WaterSMART grants will also save energy, and help America become less dependent on sources of energy that are costly, non-renewable and harm the environment."
Established in February 2010 by Secretary Salazar, the WaterSMART program facilitates the work of all bureaus of the Department of the Interior to pursue a sustainable water supply for the nation. It establishes 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 offices. The Bureau of Reclamation plays a leading role in the WaterSMART program as the Department's water management agency.
"It is through actions such as the WaterSMART grants that the Bureau of Reclamation continues to work with water districts, communities, other government agencies and Native American Tribes to improve water and energy efficiencies in the West," Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor said. "By working together, we can find more efficient ways to use the water available in the West to protect jobs, enhance the use of clean energy and promote the sustainable use of limited resources."
These newest WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant projects will leverage federal funding with non-federal cost share to complete more than $76 million in water management and delivery improvements. These projects will improve water management, increase energy efficiency in the delivery of water, facilitate water marketing projects, help to protect endangered and threatened species, and carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent water-related crisis and conflict.
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