Bureau barred from further water reclamation funding

The US Department of the Interior will not authorise any further Title XVI water reuse projects to receive support from the Bureau of Reclamation “at this time”, Michael L Connor, commissioner of the bureau told the Subcommittee on Water and Power of the US House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee on 21 July 2009.

Pointing out that there were 53 Title XVI projects already authorized and numerous competing mission priorities and demands on Reclamation’s budget, the commissioner rejected a request for funding for a US$ 21.5 million wastewater reuse project for the city of Hermiston in Oregon, which would be used for irrigation.

“As a practical matter, Reclamation is concerned that a proliferation of authorized projects would be detrimental to effective overall program management because there would be a dilution of available funding and a diminished ability of the Bureau to carry out and complete individual projects,” Connor told the subcommittee.

The commissioner went on to say, however, that Reclamation will, however, continue to work with projects to evaluate their feasibility. To that end, it had recently revised and improved its directives and standards that govern the review of Title XVI projects.