Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Dan DuBray):
President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2014 budget request released today identifies a total of $1.050 billion for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, continuing the President’s commitment to be prudent with taxpayer dollars while setting consistent spending priorities for Reclamation. The budget request for the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power includes the proposed transition of the Central Utah Project Completion Act (CUPCA) into the bureau’s budget, instead of the departmental budget. On a comparable basis to include CUPCA funding, this amounts to a decrease of $26.8 million below the FY2012 enacted level and $33.4 million below the initial 2013 Continuing Resolution, P.L. 112-175.
“The Reclamation budget announced today reflects this administration’s commitment to creating and sustaining jobs, while striving to meet water delivery requirements in the West,” Commissioner Michael L. Connor said. “The FY 2014 budget reflects many difficult budget choices, with cost-cutting actions, in order to fund the highest priority requirements—promoting efficient water deliveries and power generation, while also actively implementing critical river restoration programs. We’re proud also to have funding in this budget to support our goals of strengthening tribal nations by implementing water rights settlements.”
The proposal for Reclamation’s Water and Related Resources account of $791.1 million includes $373.3 million for resource management and development activities. This funding provides for planning, construction, water conservation activities, management of Reclamation lands, including recreation, and actions to address the impacts of Reclamation projects on fish and wildlife. The request also emphasizes reliable water delivery and power generation by requesting $417.8 million to fund operation, maintenance and rehabilitation activities at Reclamation facilities, including dam safety.
The budget emphasizes Reclamation’s core mission to address the water needs of a growing population in an environmentally responsible and cost-efficient manner; and to assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It also emphasizes the operation and maintenance of Reclamation facilities in a safe, efficient, economic and reliable manner—ensuring systems and safety measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities.
Reclamation’s funding request addresses administration, departmental and bureau priorities, including America’s Great Outdoors Initiative through ecosystem restoration, renewable energy, water conservation and the WaterSMART Program, strengthening tribal nations and youth recruitment activities.
The budget request proposes to transition the CUPCA Program into the Bureau of Reclamation as part of broader administration efforts to implement good government solutions, ensure consistent treatment of federal water projects, consolidate activities when possible and reduce duplication and overlap. The FY 2014 CUPCA budget is $3.5 million.
Specifics of the budget request include:
America’s Great Outdoors Initiative – Reclamation has a responsibility to focus on the protection and restoration of the aquatic and riparian environments affected by its operations. Highlights of Reclamation’s AGO ecosystem restoration activities, many of which support Endangered Species Act (ESA) recovery programs, include:
$152.5 million for the Central Valley Project (CVP). Within this total, $14 million and an additional $2 million in the CVP Restoration Fund is for the Trinity River Restoration program; and $38.2 million continues court ordered actions for drainage services in the West San Joaquin Division, San Luis Unit. $27.8 million Lower Colorado River Operations Program, of which $18.2 million is for the Multi-Species Conservation Program to provide long-term ESA compliance for river operations. $26 million for activities consistent with the settlement of Natural Resources Defense Council v. Rodgers as authorized by the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act to restore and maintain fish populations, and restore and avoid adverse water impacts. $21.2 million for ESA recovery implementation programs, including $10.1 million to implement the Platte River Endangered Species Recovery Implementation Program and $8.5 million for the Upper Colorado and San Juan River Basin Endangered Fish Recovery Programs. $18 million for the Klamath Project, which supports studies and initiatives to improve water supplies to meet the competing demands of agricultural, tribal, wildlife refuge and environmental needs along with facilities operations and maintenance activities. $37 million for the California Bay-Delta Restoration Fund activities aligned with the Interim Federal Action Plan issued Dec. 22, 2009— including $25.5 million to address the degraded Bay-Delta ecosystem; $9.9 million for smarter water supply and use and $1.7 million for a renewed federal-state partnership. $53.3 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund to continue funding a variety of activities to restore fish and wildlife habitat and populations in the CVP service area of California. $25.9 million for the Middle Rio Grande Project, of which $10.2 million is targeted to support environmental activities developed through the Endangered Species Act Collaborative Program. $18 million for the Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project for implementation of the biological opinions for the Federal Columbia River Power System.
WaterSMART Program – The FY 2014 budget for Reclamation proposes $35.4 million for the WaterSMART Program – Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow — to assist communities in stretching water supplies and improving water management. The WaterSMART Program components include: WaterSMART Grants funded at $12 million; the Basin Studies Program funded at $4.7 million; the Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program funded at $14 million; a new external water resources grants program — the Shared Investment Water Innovation Program — funded at $1 million; the Water Conservation Field Services Program, funded at $3.4 million; and the Cooperative Watershed Management Program, funded at $250,000.
Strengthening tribal nations – The total budget for Reclamation’s implementation of Indian Water Rights Settlements in 2014 is $99.7 million in current funding. Of this amount, Reclamation is proposing establishment of an Indian Water Rights Settlements account of $78.7 million to ensure continuity in the construction of five of the authorized projects and to highlight and enhance transparency in use of these funds.
This includes $18.2 million to continue implementation of the four settlements authorized in the Claims Resolution Act of 2010. These settlements will deliver clean water to the Taos Pueblo of New Mexico, the Pueblos of New Mexico named in the Aamodt case, the Crow Tribe of Montana and the White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona. The budget also includes $60.5 million for the ongoing Navajo-Gallup Water Supply project (Title X of Public Law 111-11). Additionally, $60 million in new permanent authority is available in 2014 for the Indian water rights settlements.
The budget also requests $21 million in the Water and Related Resources Account for on-going settlement operation and maintenance functions including the Ak Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act, Colorado Ute Settlement Act Animas-La Plata Project and Nez Perce/Snake River Water Rights Act which is part of the Columbia and Snake River Recovery Project.
Other project highlights include –
$40 million for rural water projects to undertake the design and construction of five projects and operation and maintenance of tribal features for two projects intended to deliver potable water supplies to specific rural communities and tribes located primarily in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota. A total of $15.4 million is provided for the Yakima River Basin. This includes $7.4 million to operate and maintain existing project facilities and $8 million for the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project, which will continue funding grants to implement conservation measures and monitor the effects of those measures on the river diversions. $88.1 million for the Dam Safety Program to continue dam safety risk management and risk reduction activities throughout Reclamation’s inventory of dams. Corrective actions are planned to start or continue at a number of facilities. A major focus continues to be modifications at Folsom Dam (California). $27.8 million for site security to continue Reclamation’s ongoing site-security program that includes physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.
The Bureau of Reclamation, throughout the 17 western states, is committed to helping meet the many water challenges of the West. A driving force behind bureau initiatives is resolution of water issues that will benefit future generations and providing leadership on the path to sustainable water supplies.