Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation:
Water and energy efficiency grants focus on projects that improve water management including projects that conserve water
Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that Reclamation has selected 54 projects to receive a total of $26.5 million through WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants. This funding will be leveraged to accomplish approximately $167 million in improvements throughout the West. The projects funded with these grants include canal lining and piping, automated gates and control systems, and installation of advanced metering.
“President Trump is dedicated to better water infrastructure for communities and farmers, and adequate and safe water supplies are fundamental to the health, economy, and security of the country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “WaterSMART water and energy efficiency grants enable Interior, states, tribes, and local entities to work together to take action to increase available water supply through infrastructure investments.”
“Improving water efficiency is an important part of ensuring communities have a reliable water supply in the future,” Commissioner Burman said. “The projects we’ve selected today will help communities throughout the Western United States by providing them with tools they can use to better manage their water needs.”
Water and energy efficiency grants focus on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently. Projects may also lessen the risk of future water conflicts and provide other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States. Other projects complement on-farm improvements that can be carried out with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to accomplish coordinated water conservation improvements.
Funding is provided in two groups. Funding Group I projects receive up to $300,000 and can be completed within two years. Funding Group II projects may receive up to $1 million for a phased project up to three years.
The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes near Pocatello, Idaho, will receive $888,818 to replace a 1,500-horsepower pump on the Portneuf River and install a new variable frequency drive pump. It will also line one mile of earthen canal to reduce water losses due to seepage. The project is expected to result in a water savings of 5,628 acre-feet per year which will increase tribal water supply and improve drought resiliency.
The Mapleton Irrigation District and Company near Provo, Utah, will replace three miles of existing open canals and a box culvert in Hobble Creek Canyon with a pressurized pipeline that will eliminate water losses due to seepage, evaporation and ditch failure. They will receive $300,000 towards the $1.2 million project. It is expected to result in an annual water savings of 1,685 acre-feet each year.
The City of Bakersfield will receive $743,300 to install monitoring devices with telemetry at 20 locations along the Kern River and a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system to accurately and remotely measure Kern River diversions. The $1.6 million project will result in an annual water savings of 4,592 acre-feet that will be used to replenish the local groundwater and make more water available to users, helping to reduce the potential for water-related conflicts in the area.
The complete list of projects is available at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/weeg/. Projects were selected through a competitive process and must provide a minimum of a 50-percent cost-share.
Visit https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart for additional information about the WaterSMART program.
From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):
A Senate committee Tuesday approved a bill that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
The action by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee was one of several it took Tuesday on measures backed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. Others that were approved by the committee and are supported by the two are bills to address a $12 billion National Park Service maintenance backlog, and to extend endangered fish recovery programs in the Upper Colorado and San Juan rivers through the 2023 fiscal year.
Gardner sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Tuesday’s action on the Land and Water Conservation Fund came after it expired Sunday due to a lack of congressional action to reauthorize it.
A bipartisan contingent in Congress is seeking to get legislation through the Senate and House to reauthorize the program. It dates back to 1964 and has resulted in nearly $270 million in spending in Colorado for purposes such as acquiring private inholdings surrounded by federal lands, and to help fund state and local trails and parks, including in Mesa County…
The measure approved Tuesday also would fully fund the program. Congress rarely appropriates the roughly $900 million a year in funding the legislation creating it allows…
Meanwhile, another measure the committee passed Tuesday seeks to reduce the National Park Service maintenance backlog by tapping half of existing unobligated revenues from on and offshore energy development — up to $1.3 billion per year — for the next five years, Gardner’s office said.
Here’s the release from Senator Bennet’s office:
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources today approved six bills sponsored by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.
“Today we moved one step closer to passing important public lands legislation for Colorado. From designating a new National Historic Trail to establishing the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps—a program Senator McCain and I worked on for years to make a reality for America’s youth and veterans—the legislation reaffirms our commitment to America’s public lands.
“On Sunday, despite bipartisan support in both chambers, Congress failed to reauthorize LWCF—a widely popular conservation tool in Colorado and across the country. We must pass the bill approved today as soon as possible to ensure LWCF is permanently reauthorized and fully funded for the next generation of Coloradans.
“During a recent trip to Rocky Mountain National Park, I witnessed the effects of chronic underfunding of land management agencies like the National Park Service. It’s critical we address the ongoing maintenance backlog by passing the Restore Our Parks Act.”
Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act: Bennet cosponsored this legislation to permanently reauthorize and fully find the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which conserves and promotes access to America’s parks, rivers, forests, and public lands.
Restore Our Parks Act: Bennet cosponsored this legislation to establish the National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund to address the $12 billion maintenance backlog at the National Park Service.
21st Century Conservation Service Corps Act: With the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Bennet introduced this legislation to place youth and returning veterans in national service positions to protect, restore, and enhance America’s great outdoors. The bill would amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to establish the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps.
Pike National Historic Trail Study Act: With Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bennet introduced this legislation to direct the National Park Service to conduct a study on designating explorer Zebulon Pike’s route through the American Southwest—including significant stretches in Colorado—as a National Historic Trail.
Amache Study Act: With Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), Bennet introduced this legislation to direct the Department of the Interior to conduct a special resource study on the historical significance of the former Japanese American relocation center, Amache, and evaluate the feasibility of it becoming part of the National Park System.
Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act: Bennet cosponsored this legislation to continue to fund the Upper Colorado and San Juan fish recovery programs through Fiscal Year 2023 to protect four endangered species in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Here’s the release from Senator Gardner’s office:
On Tuesday the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) serves on, advanced out of committee several pieces of legislation important to Colorado.
Included in the hearing was S. 569, the Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act. This legislation, of which Senator Gardner is a cosponsor, aims to fully fund and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Authorization for LWCF expired on September 30th, and Senator Gardner has been working with a bipartisan group, including Senator Bennet, to reauthorize the conservation program.
“I’ve been fighting to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and today was an important step for the Senate to move out of committee a bipartisan measure that permanently reauthorizes this critical program for Colorado’s public lands,” said Senator Gardner. “There is no excuse on why we can’t get this done as there is a clear bipartisan consensus in both the House and Senate on the immense benefits of this crown jewel of conservation programs.”
Also passing out of committee in today’s hearing was S.3172, the Restore our Parks Act. This legislation, of which Senator Gardner is also a cosponsor, addresses the $12 billion park maintenance backlog that is preventing new investments and infrastructure improvements to parks in Colorado and across the country. This measure would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” and reduce the maintenance backlog by allocating half of the existing unobligated revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development – up to $1.3 billion per year – for the next five years.
“We have to provide Colorado’s parks the funding necessary to help address the billions of dollars in deferred maintenance that the park system is currently facing,” said Senator Gardner. “The Restore our Parks Act will protect these lands by allowing for needed investments for park infrastructure and preservation projects.”
A graphical breakdown of what the flood waters would look like in Colorado.
Meet the contact center team who responds to over 19,000 emails and 219,000 phone calls a year.
A Denver Water customer service representative talks about her background and the cultural experiences that have shaped her life.
From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Amy Hamilton):
Tens of thousands of Mesa County residents who paid millions of dollars to the Grand Valley Drainage District to manage storm water starting in 2016 — fees a judge ruled earlier this year were actually an illegally collected tax — will receive refunds in the mail, including additional interest payments on their money.
But don’t hold your breath.
The process of full repayment will take three to six years, drainage district officials estimated Tuesday
The agency spent roughly $2.2 million of that money on projects before it lost a lawsuit lodged by Mesa County commissioners and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, and now the agency is legally required to pay residents back.
“We are going to pay people back,” drainage district Manager Tim Ryan said in an interview following a two-hour meeting of the district’s board of directors. “It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
A first payment should be mailed to residents late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2019, Ryan said.
The district plans to make the first round of refunds the largest share of the dollars they owe residents, but officials haven’t determined yet what percentage of the total refund owed that will be.