WaterSMART Program on Track to Meet Water Savings Goals, Federal Report Shows

The Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART conservation program and other conservation activities are on track to save an estimated 587,839 acre-feet of water a year – enough to serve 2.3 million people, the department announced Oct. 11.

The water savings and other accomplishments are detailed in the newly released report, Water SMART: A Three-Year Progress Report. SMART stands for Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow. The program was launched in 2010 by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

“Water SMART allows us to manage water in a more sustainable manner to achieve balance between the water we have and the water ne need for humans and ecosystems,” Anne Castle, assistant secretary for water and science, said in the Oct. 11 release.

The Department of the Interior has set a goal of saving 730,000 acre-feet of water per year by the end of 2013. In addition to saving water, the WaterSMART program has conserved 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually – enough to power 3,400 households.

Among the accomplishments identified in the WaterSMART three-year progress report is a partnership launched in 2011 between the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to leverage funding for water delivery agencies and agricultural producers in California. Reclamation made $4.1 million in competitive Water SMART grants available to five irrigation districts for water management improvements within the delivery system used by farmers. NRCS committed $7 million to farmers who receive water in those districts to make on-farm conservation improvements.

The three-year progress report is here