This month, the Bureau of Reclamation announced 63 projects selected to receive a total of $4.1 million in funding through the WaterSMART Program’s FY2019 Small Scale Water Efficiency Project (SSWEP) grant. These grants will support water agencies to use water more efficiently and improve water supply reliability in the western United States – from adopting turf replacement rebate programs to implementing advanced metering infrastructure meters to installing SCADA systems. WaterNow would like to congratulate all of the water providers selected to receive funding for these important projects!
The Town of Alta, UT was one of the utilities selected to receive WaterSMART funding. Alta, located in Northern Utah, is a small town of approximately 400 residents that receives an influx of visitors in winter months due to its world-renowned skiing. The Town’s only source of water supply is groundwater located in the 100-year old Bay City mining tunnel. Alta received a $67,000 WaterSMART grant to modernize its water delivery system by upgrading the utility’s pump and pipe in the Bay City Mine Tunnel, upgrading the water meter supplying water to Alta Ski Lift Company, and by switching fuel types for several of their water pumps from propane gas to natural gas.
“Our goal was to modernize our system, while preserving the historical mining infrastructure,” said Margaret Bourke, Alta Town Councilmember and WaterNow Member. “It’s really a matter of trying to bring us into the 21st century in an efficient way.” According to Bourke, because the Town regularly experiences freezing temperatures in winter months, the water distribution system sometimes freezes over. By upgrading to a more efficient pump and insulated pipe, the system won’t have to run at full capacity in the winter to keep the freezing from occurring. Additionally, by switching the water supply heating system and several lift pumps from an inefficient and unreliable electrical system to natural gas, the Town can ensure that water service is not lost due to frequent power outages in the winter.
WaterNow Alliance was pleased to support the Town of Alta to submit their WaterSMART grant application. WaterNow’s WaterSMART initiative provides no-cost hands-on technical assistance to cities and utilities in applying for these funds. “This was a team effort. We wouldn’t have known about the grant opportunity absent an email from WaterNow and once we started to work on it, they provided valuable ‘shepherding’ guidance by arranging for conference calls with Reclamation staff, posing questions to help us focus our application, and reviewing the language that we had drafted. WaterNow was an important partner.”
To learn more about the support WaterNow can provide to your utility in applying for a WaterSMART grant, please contact Lindsay Rogers at [email protected]