Washington - U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced approval Wednesday of $21.2 million for reclamation and reuse projects and studies nationwide and $11 million in new water and energy-efficiency grants.
The Nebraska project grants are:
Bostwick Irrigation District in Nebraska, Water Conservation Piping Project - $300,000 in reclamation funding of a total project cost of $662,677. The district, which is downstream of Harlan County Reservoir, will convert seven miles of open ditch to buried pipe, an improvement expected to result in saving 1,573 acre-feet of water annually that currently is lost to seepage and evaporation. The project also includes installation of a variable-frequency drive to increase pumping efficiency. The water conserved will be stored in the reservoir to maintain high lake levels, future water supply and for use during drought years.
Frenchman-Cambridge Irrigation District, Cambridge Canal Automation Project - $299,715 in reclamation funding of a total project cost of $632,016. The district will automate and install a control and data acquisition system on the headgate from Harry Strunk Reservoir into the Cambridge Canal and automate four other check structures.
Automating the system will allow district officials to monitor the upstream pool elevation at the diversion dam and adjust gates to capture flows as effectively as possible. The project is expected to result in saving approximately 3,074 a-f of water annually, which will remain in the reservoir to assist in Nebraska's compliance with the Republican River Compact.
Upper Republican Natural Resources District, Republican River Basin Ground and Surface Water Protection Program - $100,000 in reclamation funding of a total project cost of $200,000.
The NRD will provide rebates to farmers for soil-moisture probes and related soil-moisture technology to reduce water use in a 1.7 million-acre region of southwest Nebraska. The project is expected to result in water savings of 2,160 a-f annually, which will remain in the High Plains Aquifer. District officials also calculate that 962,000 kilowatt hours of energy will be saved in reduced groundwater pumping once the project has been implemented.