Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Utah Received $5.7 Million from Obama Administration for Water Conservation

U.S. Geological Survey
Pressurized sprinkler system

$47 million was invested in 76 projects from 11 states by U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Interior to conserve water in the West.

Utah received more than $5.7 million from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Water and Efficiency Grants programs to finance water conservation efforts on private lands, along with other multi-faceted water reclamation projects.

Brandi Rose is the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART coordinator.

“The projects that were released this year under WaterSMART, they’re expecting to conserve 11,700 acre-feet of water,” she said. “The total non-federal cost share contribution in the state of Utah was around $14 million.”

The saved water will allow for additional users in the system.

Rose said there are multiple benefits other than just water conservation, including the use of renewable energy providing emergency water storage, maintaining habitat for endangered and threatened species, and preventing water related crisis or conflicts.

"When we conserve water, we also conserve the energy it takes to move it," she said. "One way we can achieve these efficiencies is to bring federal resources to the table for local projects that focus on saving water. This program represents one more way that we’re focusing resources on projects that provide resilience in the face of our current drought."

The Bureau of Reclamation’s Water Efficiency and Grant program has also partnered with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, also known as NRCS. This funding will support on-farm water delivery system improvements through the environmental quality incentives program. NRCS is investing $5.2 million to supplement several projects previously funded by the Department of Reclamation and provide an extra $10 million in 2017 to support WaterSMART Water Efficiency and Grant programs.

One of those programs includes improvements to an on-farm water delivery system, like in the case of the Newton Water Users Association dam piping and pipeline pressurization project. The Newton Water Users Association officials plan to use pipes instead of an open-water irrigation system. This project is expected to save more than 1,800 acre-feet of water that is typically lost to evaporation. The Bureau of Reclamation provided $700,000 of the $1.7 million project.