Bureau Has Money for Efficient, Conserving Co-op Projects

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson announced that the Request for Proposals for the Water 2025 Challenge Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2008 is available online at www.grants.gov. The bureau is seeking proposals for cooperative projects that will increase water use efficiency, conservation, and/or water marketing.

"The potential for conflicts over water is increasing in the western United States," said Johnson. "This Challenge Grant Program is one tool that we have in the Water 2025 initiative to prevent those conflicts through proactive management of the scarce water resources we have today."

Since its launch in 2004, the Water 2025 Challenge Grant Program has funded 122 projects, which represent a combined investment of more than $96 million in water improvements, including a non-federal cost-share of more than $70 million. In Fiscal Year 2007, the bureau used $9.2 million to fund 44 projects.

The program focuses on achieving goals identified in the Secretary of the Interior's Water 2025 initiative that in the long-term seeks to avoid crises and conflicts over water in the Western United States. This program provides a 50/50 cost-share funding to irrigation and water districts for projects focused on water conservation, improved efficiency, and water marketing.

Projects will be selected through a competitive process and should meet the goals of Water 2025, which are encouraging voluntary water banks and other market-based measures, promoting the use of new technology for water conservation and efficiency, and increasing cooperation and collaboration among federal, state, tribal, and private organizations.

Entities that may submit proposals are irrigation and/or water districts, water authorities of federally recognized tribes and other entities created under state or territory law with water management authority. Applicants must also be located in the western United States or the U.S. Territories.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 3 p.m. on April 28 (Mountain Daylight Time). It is anticipated that awards will be made during the summer with an estimated project start date in early September.

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