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Feds award $1.37 million grant toward new Deschutes River Basin water bank project - Energy And Water Development Corp

Feds award $1.37 million grant toward new Deschutes River Basin water bank project

One of 13 drought resiliency projects in five states, totaling $20.5 million

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) — The Bureau of Reclamation announced Friday its initial 2022 selection of 13 projects for $20.5 million in grants to build long-term drought resiliency, including $1.37 million toward establishment of the Central Oregon Water Bank for the Deschutes River Basin.

These projects will leverage more than $66.7 million in non-federal funding to complete projects in five states, the agency said.

“Climate change presents growing challenges to our communities across the West and the natural systems that we all depend on,” said Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tanya Trujillo. “The Department of the Interior will continue to work with our partners to develop innovative solutions that address the challenges we face.”

The Deschutes River Conservancy grant is the only one in Oregon; the organization and partners have launched a pilot program for this year’s irrigation season.

DRC Executive Director Kate Fitzpatrick called the grant award “big happy news,” adding, “We just need to develop the financial assistance agreement with Reclamation, which is standard protocol.”

Here’s the grant summary provided by the BOR:

Deschutes River Conservancy, Establishment of the Central Oregon Water Bank to Increase Drought Resiliency in the Deschutes River Basin
Reclamation Funding: $1,370,473 Total Project Cost: $2,740,973

The Deschutes River Conservancy, located in Bend, Oregon, in conjunction with the Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC), will establish and administer a water bank for the Deschutes Basin of Central Oregon.

The water bank will work with the DBBC, its member irrigation districts, municipalities, and other stakeholders to deploy a suite of time and resource-efficient mechanisms to move water between users to meet the resource needs particular to drought.

This includes the establishment of modeling efforts for current conditions and forecasting and enhanced real-time data collection for monitoring reservoirs and river flows through the installation of Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems at various locations throughout the basin.

Modeling results with available GIS data for land and water uses, and real-time flow conditions will be incorporated into a web-based decision support platform that will provide water managers with the most accurate water resources data in the Deschutes Basin. The water bank will enable flexible, voluntary, market-based reallocation of water, particularly during drought conditions.

The Bureau of Reclamation will fund the projects through supplemental appropriations included in the first fiscal year 2022 continuing resolution. Reclamation may select additional drought resiliency projects once the regular fiscal year 2022 appropriations have been received. Applicants are being notified of project funding on a rolling basis.

“The Western United States is experiencing unprecedented dryness and drought,” said Chief Engineer David Raff. “This WaterSMART funding will help communities be more resilient and diversify their water supplies as climate change makes droughts worse.”

Reclamation’s Drought Response Program is part of WaterSMART. It supports a proactive approach to drought by providing water managers assistance to implement projects to build long-term resiliency to drought and climate change while supporting President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

The 13 selected projects are:

  • Bear River Water Conservancy District (Utah), $2 million
  • Bella Vista Water District (California), $2 million
  • Casitas Municipal Water District (California), $2 million
  • City of Fresno (California), $293,450
  • City of Gallup (New Mexico), $2 million
  • City of Grand Junction (Colorado), $300,000
  • Delano-Earlimart Irrigation District (California), $2 million
  • Deschutes Irrigation District (Oregon), $1,370,473
  • North Kern Water Storage District (California), $500,000
  • Rancho California Water District (California), $2 million
  • San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (California), $2 million
  • South Coast Water District (California), $2 million
  • South San Joaquin Municipal Utility District (California), $2 million

Please visit the Drought Response Program website for project descriptions and information on the program.

Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities to plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit to learn more.

Reclamation’s efforts will be boosted by Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s investments in water efficiency and recycling programs, water storage, rural water projects, watershed projects, dam safety and other projects that will ensure that western communities have the opportunity to leverage federal funding for their benefit.

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