Initiative Offers Grants for Water Banks

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson has announced the first funding opportunity for fiscal year 2009 under the Water for America Challenge Grant Program is now available online at www.grants.gov.

The bureau is seeking proposals for cooperative projects that create water banks and markets or improve the water delivery efficiency of a system through conservation or operational improvements.

"Population growth, climate variability, chronic water supply shortages, and increased competition for water will challenge communities in the West," Johnson said. "This initiative is aimed at helping communities address the 21st century water challenges and ensure they have adequate water supplies now and into the future."

Water Marketing and Efficiency grants were previously known as Challenge Grants under the Water 2025 Initiative. In previous years, this program funded 137 projects, which represented a combined investment of more than $127 million in water improvements, including a non-federal cost share of $97.7 million.

The Water for America initiative was developed under Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to help state, tribal, and local governments better conserve, manage, and develop their vital water resources to meet future challenges and demands. Projects will be selected for funding through a competitive process and should meet the goals of the initiative.

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 United States Territories.

Proposals must be submitted as indicated on www.grants.gov by Jan. 14, 2009, at 4 p.m. MST. It is anticipated the awards will be made during the summer of 2009.

For more information, visit www.usbr.gov/wfa.

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