Bennet Applauds Funding for Water Irrigation Efficiency Projects in Colorado River Basin

Bennet Urged Agriculture, Interior Secretaries to Coordinate Conservation Programs and Crafted Conservation Title in 2014 Farm Bill Helping Fund Projects

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the joint announcement by the Agriculture and Interior Departments that the agencies will coordinate to invest more than $47 million to help water districts and growers to better conserve water resources while improving efficiency of agricultural operations in the Colorado River Basin and across the West.

"Water is a precious resource that helps drive our state's economy," Bennet said. "Increasing populations across the West and more frequent drought conditions mean we must do everything we can to ensure that current and future generations have the water they need. These investments will help sustain water for agricultural production and many other uses."

The funding will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation. The two agencies will closely collaborate with partners to identify priority watersheds for future investments.

In May, at the urging of Colorado elected officials, water users, and conservation groups, Bennet wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell urging greater coordination between USDA and DOI to conserve water resources. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Bennet helped craft the 2014 Farm Bill that reauthorized drought relief programs to help farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with persistent drought. With input from dozens of listening sessions and meetings held throughout Colorado, Bennet helped craft the conservation title of the bill, including the Environmental Quality Incentives Program at NRCS, which is one source of today's funding announcement.

Click here for more information on the announcement.