Getting SMART About Energy Efficiency

As the second largest producer of hydropower in the United States, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation has a key role to play in President Obama’s blueprint for a secure energy future.  Reclamation’s staff of engineers, biologists, hydrologists and other professionals are working tirelessly to conserve water and improve energy efficiencies at our projects across 17 Western states.

Recently, Reclamation announced $24 million in WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants for 54 projects. This federal funding, when combined with other non-federal resources, will total more than $76 million in projects that are expected to save more than 15 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough for more than 1,300 households.

The East Columbia Basin Irrigation Company in Washington, for example, will use its WaterSMART grant to help convert more than 85,000 feet of open ditch to pipelines to address seepage losses.  The improvements are expected to result in a water savings of 7,850 acre-feet each year and 4.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

By working together on projects like these, we can find more effective ways to use the water available in the West to protect jobs, enhance the use of clean energy and promote the sustainable use of limited resources.

As drought, climate change, growing populations, energy demands and basic environmental needs stress our finite water and energy supplies, these WaterSMART grants will save energy and help America become less dependent on sources of energy that are costly, non-renewable and harm the environment.

Learn more about WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow).

Mike Connor is the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation
Related Topics: Energy and Environment
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