Western States Water Council

A Voice for Water in the West 


#442 – Regarding the Bureau of Reclamation’s Maintenance, Repair and Rehabilitation Needs

Position #442 – March 6, 2020

WHEREAS, the Bureau of Reclamation’s mission is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public; and

WHEREAS, Reclamation operates hundreds of dams, reservoirs, and related infrastructure in the West, supplying water and power to millions of people, irrigating millions of acres for food and fiber, providing flood control and recreation, and supporting wildlife and habitat; and

WHEREAS, the importance of maintaining these projects cannot be overstated; and

WHEREAS, many of Reclamation’s facilities are nearing, or have already exceeded, their original design lives and are in need of maintenance, repair, and/or rehabilitation (MR&R), in order to minimize risk; and

WHEREAS, MR&R needs refer to both maintenance that has been deferred and future projections or anticipated maintenance, repair and rehabilitation work; and

WHEREAS, Reclamation’s funding and the funding from non-federal partners which operate two-thirds of Reclamation’s infrastructure under contract is not sufficient to address all MR&R needs; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, Reclamation’s Infrastructure Investment Strategy estimated that the total funding needed to address its MR&R needs is $2.9 billion; and

WHEREAS, Congress and the Administration must have access to consistent and accurate information on Reclamation’s MR&R needs to address these needs through investments that are based on long-term capital planning and budgeting strategies; and

WHEREAS, state water managers require this information to carry out their water planning and other water administration activities; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, Reclamation has made progress in developing and improving estimates of MR&R needs for infrastructure under its jurisdiction as well as standard asset management criteria that evaluate risks to: (1) human health and safety; (2) economic growth; and (3) the environment; and

WHEREAS, Reclamation also continues to work with non-federal operating entities to clarify the processes for providing non-federal input into compiling and reporting MR&R needs; and

WHEREAS, notwithstanding these improvements, much of the currently available information regarding Reclamation’s MR&R needs for Reclamation’s infrastructure under contract is inconsistent and difficult to obtain; and

WHEREAS, a process is needed to evaluate Reclamation’s MR&R needs for facilities under contract pursuant to standard asset management criteria that evaluate risks.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Western States Water Council urges Congress and the Administration to work together to develop a standardized process to evaluate Reclamation’s MR&R needs for facilities under contract and a process to ensure Reclamation can receive from partners/operating entities, and provide, the most up-to-date, consistent, and accurate information, including the estimated costs of those needs and the relative priority or importance of addressing those needs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Reclamation should ensure that appropriate information on its MR&R needs is readily accessible and easy to understand by Congress, state policy makers, and the public.