Topic: Water Strategy


Gray-water systems catching on in Tucson

Excerpt: Since 2008, Tucson has required plumbing in new homes to allow homeowners to set up gray-water systems to reuse water from bathroom sinks, showers and tubs as well as washing machines to water plants and lawns. Noting that a third of household wastewater typically can be reused as gray water, the city also offers a $1,000 rebate to homeowners installing permanent gray-water systems.

Excerpt: "We need to become much more efficient and creative at how we reuse," he said. "We need to recycle what we have multiple times and do it in the lowest-energy, highest-productive way."

Excerpt: The gray-water system at Reid Park Zoo's Conservation Learning Center complements a catchment system through which rain that hits the roof is used in its toilets, reducing the use of potable water inside by about half. Both systems tie into the zoo's overall conservation efforts, said Vivian VanPeenen, a zoo spokeswoman.

"The practice of conserving water and other natural resources is definitely effective for the zoo and the species we care for," she said.

Price a tool for water conservation in Arizona?

Excerpt: It is a complex calculation, but at the most fundamental level this much is true: The amount of water needed to have a lush, green lawn in Phoenix would yield a substantially higher water bill for a homeowner in Tucson.

Excerpt: As leaders ponder the long-term future of Arizona’s water supply, Hunting and others say that raising water prices, balanced against the fact that people must have water to survive, is an option for encouraging conservation and helping people better appreciate the true value of water.

“Water is heavily subsidized and way too cheap,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “Because of that it is not valued.”

Excerpt: These options would help fill a gap between water supply and demand that Tannler said may not be possible to address through conservation alone.

“Conservation certainly helps, but there may be a limit,” he said.

Michael J. Lacey, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, said in order to bridge an anticipated gap in water supply Arizona will need to start making plans that will manifest in the next 30 to 40 years.

“Everyone will be asked to shoulder some of the solution,” he said.

Pay water users to take less

Excerpt: Farmers, cities and power plant operators could soon be paid to cut their use of the Colorado River under a new interstate program aimed at keeping more water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

The four largest communities fed by the Colorado plan to pour millions of dollars into a fund to help farmers and industrial operations pay for efficiency improvements and conservation measures to cut their river water use.

Excerpt: The water authority board signed off on the conservation concept — and the $2 million — on April 17. Entsminger hopes to see a final agreement among the agencies and the federal government within a month or so. The first conservation projects could be funded as early as this fall, he said.

Excerpt: “We’re right on the verge of having to extend all of our launch ramps, but we expect to be able to get through this summer,” Vanover said. “It’s important for people to know that no matter what happens there will still be access to Lake Mead.”

Wichita Falls Sees Wastewater Recycling As Solution

Excerpt: Wichita Falls could soon become the first in the country where half of the drinking water comes directly from wastewater.

Excerpt: Mayor Glenn Barham says three years of extreme drought have changed life for 104,000 people living in Wichita Falls, which is about 140 miles northwest of Dallas.

“(There’s) no outside irrigation whatsoever with potable water. Car washes are closed one day a week. If you drain your pool to do maintenance you aren’t allowed to fill it,” he explained.

Excerpt: Nix says the extra treatment will eliminate unwanted minerals and pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia.

“We just don’t have time to put the water out in a body of water, a wetlands, or lake and allow nature to take its course,” Nix said. “Inside the treatment plant, we speed those processes up so rather than wait several weeks for UV rays from the sun to disinfect or kill bacteria we do it in the plant using chlorine. It takes a matter of minutes to do it instead of weeks.”

An Innovative Conservation Fund for the Colorado River

Excerpt: The four largest cities that get their drinking water from the Colorado River are gearing up to pilot an innovative conservation scheme that pays farmers, industries and municipalities to reduce their use of the river’s water.

Excerpt: The fund would pay for voluntary reductions in water use – whether by fallowing farm fields, installing more efficient irrigation systems, recycling industrial supplies, or other means– but the savings would benefit the basin as a whole by increasing reservoir storage and thereby mitigating shortages.

Excerpt: By collaboratively creating an incentive for basin-wide conservation, the big four urban water users and the Bureau of Reclamation have an opportunity to bring more resilience and adaptability to the drought-stricken, overtapped Colorado River.

Colorado River water coming to Arizona

Excerpt: Economists from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business estimated the economic impact of CAP’s 336-mile canal system on the state’s economy. They found a $100 billion annual economic benefit from the river water. The canals provide water supplies to Phoenix and other areas of the state. Without the canals, the Valley would not be able sustain itself or grow. Farms, industrial users — such as semiconductor manufacturers — as well as household users all benefit from the river water.


“Preserving this vital resource is foremost in our minds. The Colorado River is experiencing long-term drought and CAP’s focus is to continue to work diligently with our customers and stakeholders to ensure this resource is available to support the future of our state and Southwest region,” said CAP General Manager David Modeer.

Drought presses Las Vegas to conserve water

Excerpt: Future droughts and a warming climate change could spell trouble for the city's 2 million residents — and its 40 million annual visitors. Those people "better hope nothing goes wrong with the last intake," said water authority spokesman J.C. Davis.

"But if something does go wrong," he added, "we're in the business of making contingency plans."

For officials here, the scenario signifies a formidable job: providing water for the nation's driest city. Las Vegas uses more water per capita than most communities in America — 219 gallons of water per person every day — and charges less for it than many communities.

Excerpt: John Entsminger, the water authority's new general manager, says such seemingly careless spectacles as the elaborate fountains at the Bellagio resort feature recycled water. "The Strip uses only 3% of the region's water but supplies 70% of its economy," he said. "That's not a bad bargain."

Excerpt: Entsminger, the head of the water authority, believes the American Southwest must fight its water crisis together. He said the seven states drawing water from the Colorado River collectively form the world's fifth-largest economy — just behind Germany but ahead of France and Britain.

San Joaquin Valley sinking

Excerpt: Now that bounty is threatened by a crisis of geological proportions: The land is sinking – crippling the region’s irrigation and flood control infrastructure and damaging aquifers that are buffers against climate change.

Nature, though, is not to blame. This problem is self-inflicted, driven by the frontier-style exploitation of the last unregulated resource in California: groundwater.

Excerpt: Today’s drama is only the latest chapter in a long-running saga of sinking. Three generations ago, so much groundwater was pumped from aquifers that half the valley sank like a giant pie crust, sagging 28 feet near Mendota and inflicting damage to irrigation canals, pipelines, bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Excerpt: “Obviously, nobody wants to be regulated any more than we are,” Michael said. “But I think maybe we have to have somebody step in. People are probably going to be upset that I would say something like that. We have to find ways to protect the resource that we have.

“There are all kinds of surface regulations (for water) and you’ve got this Wild West underneath the ground. The chickens are coming home to roost, unfortunately,” Michael said.

A Comparison of Water Rates

Excerpt: A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.

Excerpt: “The reason why rates are so low in the Great Lakes region is proximity to abundant water,” said Nick Schroeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit. “Moving water takes an extraordinary amount of energy. Energy costs are higher in arid regions where water has to be brought from far away. For us, you look at the larger cities, and they are right on one of the lakes. It’s easy to get water to the population centers.”

Excerpt: “Water use is generally not publicized much outside of droughts,” said Drew Beckwith, a water specialist with Western Resource Advocates. “Water sort of has a technical side that often doesn’t get communicated well to the public.”

Colorado River Water Managers Plan for Persistent Drought

Excerpt: The severe risks of an extended drought in the Colorado River Basin – a shutdown of hydropower generation, functionally empty lakes, and restrictions on water use – are forcing the basin’s seven states to consider unprecedented changes in how they manage a scarce resource.

Excerpt: “We’ve never had to do this before because we never planned for this degree of low water storage,” Don Ostler, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an administrative body, told Circle of Blue. “We want to plan for extreme hydrology the likes of which we have never seen.”

Excerpt: “We’re certainly having discussions about existing drought and contingency planning for an ongoing sustained drought,” said Colby Pellegrino, who handles Colorado River issues for Southern Nevada Water Authority, the state’s largest water utility. “But we’re not to a point where we can say what those options will be.”

Arizona’s long-term water future

Excerpt: More than century of planning has brought Arizona to this point, starting with the Salt River Project and decades of arduous negotiations that led to a supply of Colorado River water. So have the landmark Groundwater Management Act of 1980 and a system of banking some of the state’s Colorado River allotment in aquifers.

Excerpt: In January, an Arizona Department of Water Resources report pointed to the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water and demands over the next century. It said that Arizona will need to develop additional water supplies over the next 25 to 100 years to keep pace with growth.

Excerpt: “What we need right now is a deeper understanding by policymakers about what our situation is,” he said. “I want someone who will look at the complex solutions, not the short easy ones.”
Pickard, the CAP board president, said this election year will test which politicians are ready to make Arizona’s water future a priority.
“When Arizonans can unquestionably turn on the tap and get water without question, we’re doing our job,” she said. “We don’t want our customers to have to think about whether there will be water or not.”

Colorado River deluge to bring wetlands back in Mexico

Excerpt: For half a century, the Colorado River’s great dams and the 30 million people who siphon water from the reservoirs behind them have effectively killed the river at Morelos Dam, west of Yuma.

Excerpt: “The river has provided to us — to humans — for many years the water to grow our crops, our food,” said Francisco Zamora, who leads the Sonoran Institute’s efforts to restore the lost forests of the delta. The Tucson nonprofit works on landscape conservation and quality-of-life issues in the West.

An eight-week flood began Sunday with the opening of a gate at Morelos Dam, which normally sends the river sideways into a Mexican canal. It will be a watershed moment for cross-border cooperation on the environment and on an increasingly pinched water supply.

Arizona hopes snow-making experiment leads to water

Excerpt: As a pair of storms moved over the mountains of southeastern Wyoming last week, a set of propane-fueled machines was poised to shoot silver iodide particles into the clouds, hoping to goad them into producing more snow.

Excerpt: Over the past eight years, the Central Arizona Project, the agency that operates the canal that directs Colorado River water into the state, has spent $798,600 to fund small-scale cloud-seeding operations in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, which received a blast of spring snow over the weekend.

Excerpt: Cullom was tasked with looking into the science behind it. He was initially skeptical, but he became a convert after looking into the research.

He persuaded CAP executives and the board to spend the money. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is also helping pay for the effort.

"The equipment is inexpensive," Cullom said. "Let's see if it works."

Cities committed to wise water use

Excerpt: Potential water shortages have been in the news lately, reminding us desert-dwellers that we need to use water wisely. While others talk about the need to conserve, the cities of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association walk the walk, implementing comprehensive programs to shrink demand, with plans in place to manage drought and preserve our water supplies for future generations.

Excerpt: Maybe you've heard of Water — Use It Wisely. AMWUA cities developed this program to help our residents to conserve, and more than 400 communities and organizations across North America have adopted it. Our cities also implement 305 management practices to reduce water use, including water rates to encourage conservation, rebates for converting turf to water-efficient landscaping, and water-saving plumbing retrofits for low-income residents.

Wise water use is the key to desert living. The AMWUA cities are committed to the task.

Testing Recycled Waste Water Complete

Excerpt: Wichita Falls water users should have recycled waste water coming to their homes and businesses in May.

Excerpt: Today was the last of 40 days of testing required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to ensure the water is safe to drink.

All preliminary tests show the recycled water is safe to drink. Officials at the Cypress Treatment Plant say so far the project has had very few glitches.

Excerpt: If they say the water is safe, then officials will take 7 and a half million gallons of the water that gets flushed down toilets and washed down drains to the River Road Waste Water Plant, then pump it back to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant. That water will go through 4 treatment process, turning it into 5 million gallons of recycled water, blending it with 5 million gallons of water from Lake Arrowhead and Kickapoo for a total of ten million gallons coming from the treatment plant to faucets.

Day of reckoning for parched Southwest

Excerpt: When it comes to water in America, this truth is self-evident: We are guzzlers from sea to shining sea. Nowhere, though, are the effects of our thirst as visible and self-destructive as they are in the Southwest, the fastest-growing and driest region of the country, where just one long and lonely river, the Colorado, must slake the needs of seven states.

Excerpt: It's not seriously disputed that the region's water shortfall is large and will become worse, even in the absence of drought. Likewise, it is widely acknowledged that increasingly strict conservation measures will soon become the norm in the region. What is striking, however, is the reluctance of state officials, builders, and others to acknowledge two more truths that the weight of evidence points to: first, that the relentless growth the Southwest has become accustomed to over the last half-century is unsustainable; second, that either in a planned way executed over time to cushion shock or disruptively after more years of whistling past the graveyard, growth of population and industry will slow and stop.

Excerpt: "The Western dream," he says, "is going to come with an asterisk that says 'P.S. Bring your own water.'"

Dry with chance of shortage

Excerpt: There's a better than 50 percent chance of an official water shortage being declared in 2016 for the Lower Colorado River Basin as a result of the drought that has gripped the river's watershed for the last 14 years.

Excerpt: That's if the current trend continues, Daniel Bunk, a hydrologist for the Lower Colorado Region with the the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, told the Colorado River Citizens Forum Wednesday during an update on the status of the Colorado River Basin.

He noted that 2000 to 2013 was the driest 14-year period in more than 100 years of historical record. And based on tree ring studies, it is the fourth or fifth driest period in the past 1,200 years.

Excerpt: If a shortage is declared by the Secretary of the Interior, Arizona would bear by far the biggest impact, according to an agreement in 2007 that established shortage sharing guidelines. Under the guidelines, Arizona, which is allocated 2.8 million acre-feet of Colorado River water a year, would receive 320,000 acre-feet less water. Nevada would receive 13,000 acre-feet less water and Mexico 50,000 acre-feet less. California would not be impacted.

Colorado River faces critical snow season

Excerpt: After 14 years of record drought, it will take an unusually wet year — one like the basin saw in 2011 — to stave off the first-ever water shortages on the overdrawn river and slow the decline of its two main reservoirs.

Lake Mead, the source for 90 percent of the Las Vegas Valley’s water supply, has seen its surface fall by more than 100 feet since the drought began. Current projections call for it to lose another 25 vertical feet of water and sink to a record low by November 2014.

Excerpt: “This is an alarming trend, and one that we would really like to see come to an end,” said water authority spokesman J.C. Davis. “Even if we have an ‘average’ year on the Colorado this year, Lake Mead is projected to continue falling. In order to make a significant dent, we would need at a minimum something on the order of 150 percent of normal.”

Excerpt: Each lake is now more than half empty, and the combined amount of water left in them is nearing its lowest point since Powell was filled for the first time.

City-school agreement could help save water

Excerpt: As part of an ongoing agreement between the city and the school district, Lake Havasu City public schools will make irrigation upgrades allowing water conservation improvements if city leaders OK the plan Tuesday.

Excerpt: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation awarded the city a grant of nearly $201,500 to help the city implement a water conservation plan, which includes installation of smart irrigation controller systems at school district sites. That conservation plan, previously approved by the Bureau of Reclamation and the city, is required by the bureau and the city’s Colorado River entitlement contract, according to a city staff report.

Excerpt: Lake Havasu Unified School District has irrigation systems that are up to 42 years old, leaky and inefficient, according to the report. It is estimated that about 57 acre feet of water per year could be saved with system upgrades, the report states.

Arizona's water management cited as way to conserve

Excerpt: WASHINGTON - The director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association told a Senate subcommittee this week that there is no "silver bullet" to the problem of rising demand for water from the Colorado River.

Excerpt: Kathleen Ferris pointed to Arizona's years of successful water management policies that have kept water use at virtually the same level since 1957, despite an exploding population. But while conservation and reuse are essential, Ferris said other measures need to be taken, such as the augmentation of supplies.

West must strive for water sustainability

Excerpt: For more than a century, solving the West's water challenges has involved building new dams, pipelines and canals to "make the desert bloom."

Supported by a vast reservoir of federal dollars, the so-called Reclamation Era defined the character of the modern West, with its sprawling cities and agricultural empires. That era ended on Dec. 12, when the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released the "Colorado River Basin Water Demand and Supply Study," a landmark report that gives the 40 million inhabitants of the Colorado River basin a glimpse of a very different future.

Excerpt: The story it tells is one that the American West needs to hear. It starts with the recognition that the human demands on the Colorado River already substantially exceed the naturally-available water supply. What's more, without a significant change in course in the coming decades, demands on the Colorado River will exceed supply by an average of 25 percent -- some 3.2 million acre-feet. That's about eight times the amount of water used each year by Las Vegas.

Christmas trees are a gift for fish

Excerpt: The trees decompose around pipes and concrete, helping them grow a skin of mosses and algae that serve as fish food. The artificial reefs also offer places for young fish to hide from predators.

Excerpt: What nature once provided — a steady source of organic material such as brush and uprooted trees — disappeared when the once wild and muddy river was tamed.

By the late 1980s, Lake Havasu's now crystal clear waters harbored few places where newly spawned fish could find shelter from predators. Fish populations were a fraction of what they had been a generation before.

Excerpt: As the trees and brush decomposed, the pipe and concrete structure grew a biological skin of mosses and algae that was then colonized by insects. In addition to providing shelter, the Christmas tree structures also became a source of fish food.

Scuba divers check sites annually and have found that fish are drawn to Christmas trees as much as Santa is.

"When they started, they could count all of the fish at any spot on their fingers," Koch said. "Progressively, they found more fish — way, way more fish — than they can count."

Plans for controversial pipeline project

Excerpt: Environmental and groundwater management plans for a controversial pipeline project that would siphon roughly 2.5 million acre-feet of groundwater from High Desert aquifers over 50 years is to go before the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Excerpt: Opponents of the project allege Cadiz is overestimating the amount of natural precipitation recharging the groundwater basins in the Bristol and Fenner valleys and that springs within the Mojave National Preserve link to the aquifers and could be jeopardized should the project move forward.

How desalination works

Excerpt: Five years ago, the Santa Cruz Water Department and neighboring Soquel Creek Water District formed an alliance to build a seawater desalination plant, one that would provide drought protection for the city and allow the district to reduce pumping from its overdrafted aquifers.

Excerpt: The environmental analysis of the plant, due late this year, will discuss subsurface intakes -- which regulators prefer because of the fewer potential impacts on marine life -- and why studies dating back to 2001 determined there were geological constraints. That has left the city to consider open-ocean intake at one of seven potential sites, each of which will require an offshore pipeline, pump station and new infrastructure for transporting the water to the plant.

Excerpt: Water is brought in from an open-ocean intake system, the design and location of which has yet to be determined. The city has anticipated needing up to 6.3 million gallons of water each day to produce 2.5 million gallons of drinking quality water, according to its intake study.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan

Excerpt: With a price tag in the tens of billions, the proposed Sacramento-San Joaquin water conveyance system is a financial heavyweight of a project. Five years of construction would create an historic new piece of California’s infrastructure that would funnel water from the Sacramento River Delta southward through the city of Tracy and beyond. Ultimately, the project would move water toward the thirsty cities and farmland of southern California.

Excerpt: An independent analysis of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, which imports the vast majority of its water from the SWP, estimates that the tunnel project would increase LADWP water rates by $273 to $546 per acre-foot by 2020, or 24 to 48 percent. The same review recommends conservation, water reuse, and even desalination of groundwater as financially favorable alternatives to importing water from a highly expensive SWP.

Excerpt: The continued life of the BDCP depends on finding vastly different alternatives to the current plan, and not just raising the cap on maximum water exports as Brown proposed in a meeting this month. It’s going to take something innovative, something ingenious, and something that’s not exactly the same plan from thirty years ago.

Desalination no panacea for Calif. water woes

Excerpt: In the Central California coastal town of Marina, a $7 million desalination plant that can turn salty ocean waves into fresh drinking water sits idle behind rusty, locked doors, shuttered by water officials because rising energy costs made the plant too expensive.

Excerpt: Squeezing salt from the ocean to make clean drinking water is a worldwide phenomenon that has been embraced in thirsty California, with its cycles of drought and growing population. There are currently 17 desalination proposals in the state, concentrated along the Pacific where people are plentiful and fresh water is not.

Excerpt: Still, desalination will be an important part of the Central Coast's future: the state ordered water suppliers to stop drawing from the Carmel River, its main source of the precious resource, starting in 2017. Even officials in Marina, with its shuttered plant, see a future in which demand will require their current desalination plant to resume operation and are planning another, larger plant to help make up for the expected water loss.

"Water politics in Monterey County is a blood sport," said Jim Heitzman, general manager of the Marina Coast Water District.

Water Conservation On a Philosophical Level

Excerpt: Water is a precious resource for much of the world’s population, but most Americans take it for granted that clean water will flow when they turn the spigot. Joseph Love provides a global perspective on our thirst for water.

Excerpt: Globally, our thirst for water increases by 640 trillion liters every year. Obviously, if the amount of water available is constant but our demand for it increases hugely and regularly, we have to be wise in the way we use it. However, the problem is that how we use water (and how much we use) has little effect on total collective consumption.

Excerpt: Our water use is deeply ingrained in our culture as it is in all cultures. In India, water is available for a couple of hours at a time throughout the day. In Kenya, shallow wells are routinely contaminated and, ultimately, water obtained from many is undrinkable. Less than half the world’s population is within walking distance to clean drinking water. Half that number doesn’t have access to clean water at all. And in terms of dams, the 35 dams on the Euphrates River create reservoirs so vast that they lose nearly two cubic miles of water a year due to evaporation, compared to Lake Mead’s less than one-quarter of a cubic mile.

Excerpt: In America, we’re tremendously lucky to have the infrastructure that we do. We’ve knocked out huge numbers of water-related illnesses by having treated municipal supplies. We’re never far from a water source, and we can always find a local pool to hop in on a hot day. There has to be a shift in perception that this is not the norm, and that it doesn’t necessarily reflect a healthy ecosystem behind the scenes. Water we use everyday comes from a natural supply, and when we use a gallon for ourselves, we take a gallon from another living thing. Water use has to be pre-empted by a simple question: am I treating water like a precious, 4.3 billion year-old artifact?

EPA war on coal threatens Tucson water supply

Excerpt: According to a report from, “Owners of the Navajo Generating Station say an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to clear the air in the region’s national parks may push the plant into an unacceptable financial situation. They’ve indicated it could force a shutdown as early as 2017.” “A shutdown of the plant would put nearly 1,000 people out of work on the Navajo Indian Reservation that is already deeply mired in unemployment and poverty.” “The owners insist they cannot spend more than $1 billion on environmental improvements without a guarantee they’ll be allowed to operate beyond 2019. The owners are several public agencies and utilities, including the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Tucson Electric Power and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.”

Excerpt: The new “haze” rule from EPA could cause NGS to shut down, eliminating a major contributor to the economy of the Navajo Nation, the Hopi Tribe, the city of Page, Coconino County, and the state of Arizona. And, a shutdown would stop the pumps supplying water to Southern Arizona. The EPA ‘haze” rule will cause three of five generators at the coal-fired Four Corners Power Plant in northwest New Mexico to shut down also.

Sustainable water strategy for business

Excerpt: Slowly but surely the issue of water sustainability is moving up the business agenda, with water strategies set to take their place alongside targets for carbon and energy. This was the overriding message at a recent conference on the global water challenge.

Excerpt: "The main reason water is placed low on a company's sustainability agenda is because the cost is minimal when compared with things like electricity," he explains. "But you can't look at water in isolation; it is intrinsically linked to energy usage and carbon emissions. If you have water-intensive processes, you have to consider the carbon and monetary costs of supplying that water, heating it and treating it after use."

Excerpt: Some companies, mindful that the issue of water scarcity is not one that can be addressed in isolation, are already looking at ways of cutting water use right across their supply chain, while others, most notably big corporations such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, are actively collaborating to find ways of using water more sustainably.


Managing Water in the West
Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River.