President Trump proposes Bureau of Reclamation FY 2019 budget of $1 billion

By on February 13, 2018

In a move to strengthen the Bureau of Reclamation’s efforts to continue to deliver water and generate hydropower in cost-efficient and environmentally responsible manner, President Trump on Monday proposed a $1.049 billion Fiscal Year 2019 budget for the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. Reclamation is the nation’s largest wholesale water supplier and second-largest producer of hydroelectric power. The bureau manages water for agricultural, municipal and industrial uses, in addition to providing flood risk reduction and recreation for millions of people. Reclamation’s is an important driver of economic growth in the Western states.

“President Trump’s budget for Reclamation shows his strong commitment to our mission of delivering water and generating hydropower in the West,” Bureau of Reclamation’s Commissioner Brenda Burman said. “The request also highlights how critical Reclamation’s facilities are to the nation’s infrastructure while also supporting tribal nations.”

The funding proposed in Reclamation’s FY 2019 budget emphasizes the agency’s core mission of reliable water delivery and efficient hydropower generation to address the water demands of a growing population. President Trump’s inclusion of $1.049 billion in the FY 2019 budget for Reclamation harkens to his 2016 campaign promise to strengthen the country’s infrastructure.

Reclamation’s dams, power generating facilities and water conveyances are critical elements of the nation’s infrastructure. The safety and reliability of its dams is one of Reclamation’s highest priorities. The Dam Safety Program is critical to effectively managing the potential risks to the downstream public, property and natural resources. The FY 2019 budget request of $88.1 million for the Safety of Dams Program provides for risk management activities at Reclamation’s high and significant hazard dams where loss of life or significant economic damage would likely occur if a dam was to fail. The budget also includes activities for Interior’s Dam Safety Program, which Reclamation oversees as well as several dam safety modifications.

The proposed budget is also intended to assist states, tribes and local entities in solving water resource issues. It emphasizes investment in modernizing existing infrastructure in a safe, economic and reliable manner, ensuring measures are in place to protect the public and Reclamation facilities for the next 100 years.

Included in the budget request are a variety of projects and programs that would directly and indirectly benefit the state of California and its residents. These include:

  • Water delivery and quality concerns addressing the special requirements in the Colorado River basin and within the state of California. Although last year’s precipitation was helpful, the long-term impacts from multiple drought years are not recovered in a few wet years. Groundwater must be replenished and the hydrologic system take time and deliberate actions to recover. The FY 2019 budget request through programs, such as the Lower Colorado River Operations Program ($31.2 million) and the Central Valley Project ($147.5 million), will continue current efforts to find a long-term solution to achieve a reliable water supply and quality for these programs/projects.
  • A request to support and emphasize activities designed to prevent and combat the infestation of quagga and zebra mussels across Reclamation states, including California. These invasive species are rapidly reproducing and have infested multiple operational areas of Reclamation facilities.
  • A budget of $62.0 million for the Central Valley Project Restoration Fund (CVPRF)is expected to be offset in total by discretionary receipts, which are adjusted on an annual basis to maintain payments totaling $30.0 million (October 1992 price levels) on a three-year rolling average basis. The budget for the CVPRF was developed after considering the effects of the San Joaquin River Restoration Settlement Act, which redirects certain fees, estimated at $2.0 million in FY 2019, collected from the Friant Division water users to the San Joaquin Restoration Fund.
  • A request of $2.9 million supports projects in the laboratory-scale research studies, pilot-scale testing and full-scale testing for the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. The funding would also support the operation and maintenance of Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility, supporting testing projects and potential work from Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, including one focused on produced waters from oil and gas extraction activities.
  • Budget to continue Reclamation’s ongoing Site Security Program with $26.2 million, which would include physical security upgrades at key facilities, guards and patrols, anti-terrorism program activities and security risk assessments.
  • Ensuring future water deliveries through the conservation of the resources available now. The funding proposed in Reclamation’s FY 2019 WaterSMART budget of $19.9 million supports Reclamation’s collaboration with non-federal partners in efforts to address emerging water demands and water shortage issues in the West.
  • A FY 2019 request of $11.0 million would support the Science and Technology (S&T) Program including water and power technology prize competitions, technology transfer, and dissemination/outreach activities addressing critical water and power management obstacles. The S&T Program also help in support of the monitoring, detection and control of invasive mussels.

The full budget request for the Bureau of Reclamation can be viewed at: www.usbr.gov/budget.