@USBR awards $37.2 million to 11 #salinity control projects in #Colorado and #Wyoming #ColoradoRiver #COriver

Laying pipe near Crawford, Colorado. Photo credit: USBR

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Marlon Duke)

The Bureau of Reclamation has awarded a total of $37.2 million for 11 salinity control projects in Colorado and Wyoming through its Basinwide and Basin States Salinity Control Programs. When the salinity control features are installed, these projects will prevent approximately 23,426 tons of salt each year from entering the Colorado River.

“The projects, when complete, will help provide higher quality water to municipal and agricultural water users in Arizona, Nevada, and California, preventing economic damages,” said Kib Jacobson, program manager for Reclamation’s Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program.

Economic damages caused by high salinity in the Colorado River water often means reduced crop yields for farmers, growing a more salt-tolerant but lower-value crop, or extra expenditure of water to remove salt from the soil. High salinity can also shorten the useful life of household appliances and increase water treatment and facility management costs.

These projects were selected through a competitive process, open to the public. Reclamation solicits, selects and awards grants through funding opportunity announcements to projects sponsored by non-federal entities that control salt loading in the Upper Colorado River Basin. One of the primary selection criteria is the lowest cost per ton of salt controlled. The average cost per ton of salt for those awarded this year is $60.22. This is comparable to average cost per ton of salt of the 2017 FOA that averaged $58 per ton of salt.

Project proposals often include funding from other sources, and this year an additional $8.7 million in funding will go toward the salinity control projects selected, for a total of $45.9 million.

Reclamation will distribute the $37.2 million over the next 3 to 5 years: $33.7 million for projects in western Colorado and $3.4 million in southwestern Wyoming.

To learn more about the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program and Reclamation’s Basinwide and Basin States Salinity Control Programs, visit http://www.usbr.gov/uc/progact/salinity. To learn more about the funding opportunity announcement process, visit grants.gov.

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