@USBR allocates $8.9 million to develop innovative solutions for water and power management issues

Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $8.9 million to 27 new research projects and 114 continuing research projects through its Science and Technology Program. The funding from Reclamation is being matched by $10.9 million in partner contributions. The research findings will then be applied throughout Reclamation for the benefit of its water and power facility managers, customers and stakeholders.

“Reclamation faces many technical and complex challenges in managing water and generating power for the West,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “These new research projects will help Reclamation and its partners today, and also ensure that water and power demands will be met for future generations.”

Research proposals were sought in the following areas:

  • water infrastructure
  • power and energy
  • environmental issues for water delivery and management
  • water operations and planning
  • developing water supplies
  • The type of projects selected includes studies on invasive quagga and zebra mussel control, developing condition monitoring technologies to extend the life of water and power infrastructure, mitigating reservoir water quality impacts from harmful algal blooms, and new water operations and decision-support tools.

    Reclamation identified the research projects through an internal competitive call for proposals throughout the organization. The proposals were reviewed and ranked based on technical merit and relevance to Reclamation’s mission. Many of these projects partner with internal and/or external entities to produce robust and comprehensive solutions. Partners include entities from the federal government, state government, tribes, universities, private and local organizations.

    These new projects address research needs identified in the S&T Programs Science Strategy Implementation Plan that is published annually. This includes needs identified by Reclamation’s regional directors, which informs the development and selection of research projects to meet those needs.

    This research supports the President’s Memorandum on Promoting the Reliable Supply and Delivery of Water in the West by improving the use of technology to increase water reliability and improving forecasts of water availability.

    Learn more at Reclamation’s Science and Technology Program website.

    Survey work begins for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project on the Navajo Nation. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation via The High Country News

    Aspinall Unit operations update: Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs

    Gunnison River Basin. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69257550

    From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

    Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased by 200 cfs, today, September 30th. Releases will be decreased by 200 cfs late Friday, October 4th. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

    Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for September through December.

    Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 1040 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will increase to 800 cfs today. At the end of this week Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be 1040 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will return to 600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

    James W. Broderick Hydropower plant at Pueblo Dam dedicated

    Workers prepare a turbine and generator at the James W. Broderick Hydroelectric Power Facility at Pueblo Dam shortly before it began producing electricity this week. Photo credit: The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District

    Here’s the release from the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Chris Woodka):

    The James W. Broderick Hydropower Plant at Pueblo Dam was dedicated on Monday, September 16, [2019], before a crowd of about 100 people.

    The hydroelectric generating facility was completed in May 2019 and is named for James W. Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.

    Southeastern President Bill Long hailed Broderick’s vision for pursuing the project under a Lease of Power Privilege with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The process was started in 2011, and culminated in 2017, when the lease was signed. Construction of the $20.5 million plant took 18 months.

    “Jim has given a lot more than his name to the James W. Broderick Hydropower Plant. It has been Jim’s vision to create this project, and to use the revenues generated by the plant to enhance the benefits of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project,” Long said. “this is an example of the type of creative thinking and leadership that Jim brings to every aspect of his service to the Southeastern District.”

    Broderick, in accepting the honor, credited his wife Cindy and their daughter Amy for his own success as a water leader not only in southeastern Colorado, but throughout the state and the western region. Broderick currently is president of the Colorado River Water Users Association, and has led other agencies within the state, including Colorado Water Congress and the Arkansas Basin Roundtable.

    Broderick also recognized the Southeastern District’s early partners in the Lease of Power Privilege, Colorado Springs Utilities and Pueblo Water, for technical assistance and support in bringing the power plant project to completion. Other contributors during the planning and construction process included Black Hills Energy and Pueblo West.

    [Those on] hand for the event [included] Brenda Burman, Commissioner of Reclamation, and Becky Mitchell of the Colorado Water Conservation Board…

    Burman said the plant is one of 14 built on existing dams so far under a Lease of Power Privilege, and shows how maximum benefits can be realized from existing federal projects. Reclamation operates the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project in cooperation with the Southeastern District. The Project provides supplemental water for cities and farms in the Arkansas River basin by importing water from the Colorado River basin.

    The Colorado Water Conservation Board provided a $17.2 million loan to construct the hydroelectric plant. Mitchell hailed the plant, which uses water to produce energy, as the type of project the state will become involved with as it moves in the future.

    The power plant will generate, on average, 28 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power 2,500 homes a year. It was constructed under a design-build contract with Mountain States Hydro of Sunnyside, Wash.

    Power will be sold to the City of Fountain, and to Fort Carson, through Colorado Springs Utilities.

    @USBR: Joyce Harris named senior advisor for information assurance, industrial control systems @MSUDenver

    Joyce Harris. Photo credit: Bureau of Reclamtion

    Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

    The Bureau of Reclamation announced it has selected Joyce Harris as the senior advisor for information assurance, industrial control systems. Harris will serve as the lead on intergovernmental initiatives and requirements associated with cybersecurity of facilities and systems related to hydropower delivery.

    “Attacks against critical infrastructure systems are on the rise, increasing the risks to Reclamation’s water and power systems throughout the West,” said Director of Information Resources Karla Smiley. “Joyce has the necessary experience and background to lead this new office dedicated to protecting these critical networks.”

    Harris is currently Reclamation’s chief information security officer where she leads Reclamation’s information technology and industrial control system cybersecurity program including personnel, budget, policy enforcement, incident response and security awareness. She also leads a staff of highly technical cybersecurity specialists.

    After several years in the private sector, she began her federal career with the Bureau of Land Management in 2007 as an information technology security specialist before joining Reclamation in 2010 to perform a similar role and serve as the North American Electric Reliability Council Critical Infrastructure Program compliance manager. In this position, she led internal security assessments, advised senior management on security issues, performed incident response activities, and led external audit activities.

    Harris graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver [Go Roadrunners!], Summa Cum Laude, with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Information Systems/Political Science/Public Administration.

    Aspinall unit operations update: Flows in the Gunnison Tunnel ~= 1030 CFS

    Grand opening of the Gunnison Tunnel in Colorado 1909. Photo credit USBR.

    From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

    Releases from the Aspinall Unit will be increased by 100 cfs, today, September 9th. Reservoir contents at Morrow Pt and Crystal have sufficiently recovered to allow for higher releases. Flows in the lower Gunnison River are currently above the baseflow target of 1050 cfs. River flows are expected to stay above the baseflow target for the foreseeable future.

    Pursuant to the Aspinall Unit Operations Record of Decision (ROD), the baseflow target in the lower Gunnison River, as measured at the Whitewater gage, is 1050 cfs for September through December.

    Currently, diversions into the Gunnison Tunnel are 1030 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon are around 500 cfs. After this release change Gunnison Tunnel diversions will still be 1030 cfs and flows in the Gunnison River through the Black Canyon will be around 600 cfs. Current flow information is obtained from provisional data that may undergo revision subsequent to review.

    @USBR advances water delivery project for Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nations #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

    Survey work begins for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project on the Navajo Nation. Photo credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation via The High Country News

    Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Justyn Liff, Marc Milller):

    The Bureau of Reclamation invites members of the press and public to a meeting to continue negotiations with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. The purpose of these negotiations is to agree to terms for an operations, maintenance and replacement contract for the federally-owned Cutter Lateral features of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, located near Bloomfield, New Mexico.

    This operations, maintenance and replacement contract for Cutter Lateral will facilitate water delivery to the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache Nations. The negotiations and subsequent contract provide the legal mechanism for delivery of the Navajo Nation’s Settlement Water in the state of New Mexico. WHAT: Public meeting to negotiate the Cutter Lateral operations, maintenance and replacement contract.

    WHEN: Friday, September 13, 2019, at 9:00 a.m. at 1:00 p.m.

    WHERE: Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Walter F. Wolf Conference Room 2nd Floor GM Suite, Indian Navajo Route 12, Fort Defiance, AZ 86504

    WHY: The contract to be negotiated will provide terms and conditions for the operation, maintenance and replacement of specific project features. All negotiations are open to the public as observers and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions and offer comments pertaining to the contract during a thirty-minute comment period following the negotiation session.

    The proposed contract and other pertinent documents will be available at the negotiation meeting. They can also be obtained on our website at: http://www.usbr.gov/uc/wcao/index.html, under Current Focus or by contacting Marc Miller at 185 Suttle Street, Suite 2, Durango, Colorado, 81303, 970-385-6541, mbmiller@usbr.gov.

    @USBR selects 63 projects to receive $4.1 million to improve water efficiency and reliability

    Dragon Line irrigation system. Photo credit: AgriExpo.com.

    Here’s the release from the Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

    The Bureau of Reclamation has selected 63 projects to receive a total of $4.1 million for small-scale water efficiency grants. The grants will help the water entities use water more efficiently and improve water supply reliability in the western United States.

    “This WaterSMART program improves water conservation and reliability for communities throughout the West,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “This cost-shared funding is providing an opportunity for these water providers and tribes to invest in using their water more efficiently.”

    Projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington will receive funding. For example,

  • The Central Colorado Water Conservancy District in Greeley, Colorado, will receive $75,000 to install supervisory control and data acquisition devices on 120 irrigation wells in northeast Colorado.
  • The Pueblo of Zia in northern New Mexico will receive $70,320 to install 40 radio-read water meters at currently unmetered homes to access accurate water usage data.
  • The Quincy-Columbia Basin Irrigation District in Quincy, Washington, will receive $23,130 to upgrade a turnout gate to an automated gate that will enable automatic adjustments to flows for more reliable water deliveries to farms.
  • Under this funding opportunity, applicants can request up to $75,000 in Reclamation funding and must contribute a non-federal cost-share of at least 50% of total project costs. Learn more at https://www.usbr.gov/watersmart/swep/.

    Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects are part of the WaterSMART Program. Through WaterSMART, Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities as they plan and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Visit http://www.usbr.gov/watersmart to learn more.