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PRESS RELEASE: February 4, 2008

Bureau of Reclamation proposed 2009 budget

The Administration's FY 2009 budget proposal supports Reclamation's mission of managing, developing and protecting water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American people. The budget emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by requesting more than $396 million to fund operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities. Reclamation is committed to working with water and power users, States, Tribes, and other stakeholders to find ways to address and meet the mix of water resource needs in 2009 and beyond.

Because the need for secure water supplies is a growing challenge across the nation, the President's FY2009 Budget for Reclamation includes a prominent role in the Water for America Initiative, which helps State, Tribal and local communities better conserve, develop, and manage their water resources. In 2006, the National Science and Technology Council reported that "Abundant supplies of clean, fresh water can no longer be taken for granted." The Council of State Governments echoed this concern, concluding that "water, which used to be considered a ubiquitous resource, is now scarce in some parts of the country and not just in the West& The water wars have spread to the Midwest, East, and South, as well." Competition for water is increasing because of rapid population growth and growing environmental and energy needs. These water needs are escalating at a time of chronic drought and changes in water availability resulting from a changing climate.

"Chronic water shortages, explosive population growth, over-allocated watersheds, and aging water facilities are combining to create the potential for crisis and conflict over water," said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. "This funding request includes the Water for America Initiative that merges the most successful elements of two existing programs (Water 2025 and Water Conservation Field Services), while also responding to the changing water realities by focusing attention on basin studies and enhanced ESA-related activities," Kempthorne continued.

Reclamation would use $8.0 million for basin watershed planning and smaller-scale geographical studies. The budget for Reclamation also includes $15.0 million, for challenge grants, to support partnering with urban, rural, and agricultural water users to stretch existing water supplies through such things as real time monitoring, measurement, and control; new technologies to reduce the cost of desalinating sea and brackish water; and canal lining or piping to reduce water seepage. Through the initiative, Reclamation also plans to apply an additional $8.9 million to manage and protect endangered species in major water river systems.

"As a part of the Water for America initiative, Reclamation is examining how climate change information can be considered in our water and power operations and planning through several project-specific studies. Additionally, through collaborative research with other Federal agencies and non-Federal entities that have complementary expertise and a common stake in Western water, Reclamation is well positioned to obtain the most relevant climate information and manage our water resources under changing conditions," said Reclamation Commissioner Robert Johnson.

Interior will also partner with urban, rural, and agricultural water users to stretch existing water supplies and implement measures to protect endangered species in high-risk watersheds, thereby averting water crises akin to what unfolded in the Klamath Basin.

Specifics of the budget request include:

  • $50.0 million for the Animas La Plata Project (CO, NM) to continue construction and implementation of the Colorado Ute Settlement Act Amendments of 2000;
  • Increases the Dam Safety Program to $91.3 million (+$15.5 million) to continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities throughout Reclamation's inventory of high- and significant-hazard dams. Corrective actions are planned to continue or start at a number of facilities. A major focus continues to be modifications at Folsom Dam (CA);
  • $29.0 million for Site Security to continue Reclamation's on-going site security program that includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities, and security risk assessments;
  • $25.0 million for the Klamath Project (OR, CA) to continue funding for studies and initiatives related to improving water supplies to meet the competing demands of agricultural, tribal, wildlife refuge; and addressing environmental needs in the Klamath River basin including endangered species recovery and other restoration activities;
  • $22.7 million for the Middle Rio Grande Project (NM) to continue the operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation of project facilities, and for Bureau of Reclamation efforts focused on the protection and recovery of the Rio Grande silvery minnow and southwestern willow flycatcher;
  • $32.0 million for the California Bay-Delta Program to continue funding for the environmental water account, storage program, water conveyance, ecosystem restoration, water quality, science and program oversight;
  • $48.6 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to continue funding a variety of activities to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations in the CVP service area of California;
  • A legislative proposal to implement the San Joaquin River litigation settlement, which would establish a new San Joaquin River Restoration Fund;
  • $16.4 million for the Lower Colorado River Operations Program to provide long-term Endangered Species Act compliance for lower Colorado River operations and carry out the Secretary's role as water master on the Lower Colorado River.

The Bureau of Reclamation throughout the 17 western states is committed to helping meet the many water challenges of the West. A driving force behind Bureau initiatives is resolution of water issues that will benefit future generations.


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. Visit our website at http://www.usbr.gov.


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