Department of Interior invests $50 million in water conservation projects in drought-stricken West

Interior’s WaterSMART Program to Support 64 Projects in 12 States

As part of the Obama Administration’s continued effort to bring relief to western communities suffering from the historic drought, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced on May 20 that Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will invest nearly $50 million to improve water efficiency and conservation in California and 11 other western states.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (at podium) held a press conference at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, California, to announce federal funding for water and energy conservation projects. (Left to right) L.A. Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E., Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López and LADWP Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer Nancy Sutley joined Secretary Jewell for the announcement. (Photo by US Bureau of Reclamation)
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (at podium) held a press conference at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant and Japanese Garden in Van Nuys, California, to announce federal funding for water and energy conservation projects. (Left to right) L.A. Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar, P.E., Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López and LADWP Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer Nancy Sutley joined Secretary Jewell for the announcement. (Photo by US Bureau of Reclamation)

Joined by officials from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power You are leaving WAPA.gov. (LADWP) and the Bureau of Reclamation, Secretary Jewell made the funding announcement at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys, California. The plant, which purifies millions of gallons of wastewater each day, was a fitting setting to launch federal-state partnerships dedicated to a more sustainable and resilient water future.

Through the WaterSMART Program, Reclamation is providing funding for water conservation improvements and water reuse projects across the West. More than $24 million in grants is being invested in 50 water and energy-efficiency projects in 12 western states. Seven water reclamation and reuse projects in California will receive more than $23 million and nearly $2 million will fund seven water reclamation and reuse feasibility studies in California and Texas.

WaterSMART is the Department of the Interior’s sustainable water initiative. Since it was established in 2010, the initiative has provided about $250 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities and universities. These investments have conserved enough water to meet the needs of more than 3.8 million people. Every acre-foot of conserved water delivered means that an equivalent amount of existing supplies is available for other uses.

WaterSMART water and energy-efficiency grants can be used for projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy, improve energy efficiency, benefit endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, carry out activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict. The 50 projects announced in Los Angeles will be leveraged with at least 50 percent non-federal funding for a total of $133 million in improvements over the next two to three years. For a complete description of the 50 projects, visit the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency grant website.

Source: US Department of Interior via Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 5/20/15