Feds help fund Juniper Ridge canal-piping project

COID gets $1.5 million grant for Pilot Butte Canal work

POSTED: 12:45 PM PDT May 22, 2013    UPDATED: 11:57 AM PDT May 23, 2013 
COID Juniper Ridge hydro pipe installation
BEND, Ore. -

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor announced Wednesday 44 projects in 11 states -- including one in Bend -- that will receive $20.8 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants.

That includes a $1.5 million grant toward the $6.53 million total cost for Phase 2 of a Juniper Ridge canal piping project on Bend's north end by the Central Oregon Irrigation District.

COID (www.coid.org) plans to convert 4,500 linear feet of the Pilot Butte Canal to spiral wound, coated steel pipe, an improvement expected to result in water savings of 2,552 acre-feet each year.

Through a partnership with the Deschutes River Conservancy, 2,000 acre-feet of conserved water will be allocated as a permanent in-stream flow to support water quality and habitat improvements in a reach of the Crooked River that is critical for endangered Middle Columbia Steelhead, federal officials said.

The remaining 552 acre-feet of conserved water will be allocated for permanent instream flow in the middle Deschutes River.

The irrigation district estimates that 543,343 kilowatt hours of energy savings annually will result from reduced pumping and also estimates that completion of the project will allow for as much as 3,727,545 kilowatt hours of additional power generation annually from the existing Juniper Ridge Hydroelectric Plant.

The complete list of projects is available at www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/weeg.

"Throughout the West, we’re seeing that drought, growing populations, energy demands and basic environmental needs are stressing our finite water and energy supplies," Secretary Jewell said.  "These WaterSMART grants will help stretch water supplies and improve water and energy efficiencies in communities throughout the West to support sustainable uses of our limited resources."

Reclamation estimates that together the 44 projects could save more than 100,000 acre-feet of water annually – enough for more than 400,000 people. Through reduced pumping and the addition of more efficient equipment, these projects are anticipated to save 10.8 million kilowatt-hours annually – enough energy to power nearly 1,000 households.

"Water is a precious resource, and using it more efficiently is important to ensure a sustainable supply for agricultural, municipal and industrial use, recreation and for the environment," Commissioner Connor said. "Through collaborative programs such as WaterSMART, the federal government works with state and local entities to update infrastructure and improve operations to help meet water and energy demands now and in the future."

Any entity receiving funding must provide at least a 50-percent match to the Reclamation funding.  Entities that are eligible for funding include states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts or other organizations with water or power delivery authority in the 17 western states, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.

Examples of funding recipients include:

"The Hoopa Valley Tribe will not only be able to improve its water system, but will also be able to keep the saved water in Soctish and Captain John Creeks, which eventually flow into the Trinity and Klamath Rivers. Here it will benefit threatened coho salmon and green sturgeon and help restore the river," added Connor.

Applicants applied to one of two funding groups. The first funding group included 25 projects that could receive up to $300,000 and generally are smaller projects that may take up to two years to complete. The second funding group included ten projects, which could receive up to $1.5 million for larger, phased projects that will take up to three years to complete. This will provide an opportunity for larger, multiple-year projects to receive some funding in the first year without having to compete for funding in the second and third years. Nine projects selected in the second funding group in FY 2012 will receive additional funding this fiscal year to finish their projects.

Proposals were ranked through a published set of criteria in which points were awarded for those projects that conserve water, incorporate renewable energy or address the water-energy nexus, address Endangered Species Act concerns, contribute to water supply sustainability, and/or incorporate water marketing.

The Department of the Interior established WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) in February 2010 to facilitate the work of Interior's bureaus in pursuing a sustainable water supply for the nation. The 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.

Since its establishment in 2010, WaterSMART has provided more than $159 million in competitively-awarded funding to non-federal partners, including tribes, water districts, municipalities, and universities through WaterSMART Grants and the Title XVI Program. Through WaterSMART and other conservation programs funded over the last three years, a total of more than 616,000 acre-feet of water per year is estimated to have been saved.

To learn more about WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants, please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/weeg.

Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. For more, visit http://www.usbr.gov.