Bureau of Reclamation Makes Competitive Resources Available for Water Conservation

The Bureau of Reclamation announced it is seeking proposals for its WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity. Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is encouraging Coloradans to submit proposals that will address water sustainability in Colorado.

Projects that are eligible must conserve water or result in other improvements that address water supply sustainability in the West.

“Coloradans know that water is the lifeblood of the West and understand conservation is a  critical component of our strategy to ensure we have adequate water resources for future generations,” Bennet said. “Communities all across the state are constantly working on efficiencies to ensure we have a sustainable water supply for everything from recreation, to fish habitat, to irrigation for our agricultural community. This program will help further the innovative projects we’ve seen across Colorado.”

Bennet, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, secured several provisions in the Senate Farm Bill to improve conservation programs. One of Bennet’s amendments puts an emphasis on water quality in addition to water quantity as a focus for the new Regional Conservation Partnerships Program. The Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill with broad bipartisan support and is awaiting action by the House of Representatives.

The WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. Through WaterSMART and other conservation programs funded over the last three years, more than 580,000 acre-feet of water per year is estimated to have been saved.

More information on the announcement is available at www.grants.gov using funding opportunity number R13SF80003. Proposals must be submitted by January 17, 2013 at 4 p.m. MST. It is anticipated that awards will be made this spring.