Daines Helps Secure Over $470K in Grants for Northern Montana Water Projects

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced nearly $500,000 in grants from the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to two vital Northern Montana water projects: the Exeter Siphon Project on the Malta Irrigation District, and the Pondera Canal and Reservoir Company’s E Canal Regulating Reservoir Project. 

“Water infrastructure is vital to keeping our rural economies up and running,” Daines stated. “That’s why I’ve supported the WaterSMART program in Congress. These two projects will help ensure that farmers, ranchers, and other water users will continue to have reliable access to water for their crops and livestock.”

The grants are $300,000 to the Malta Irrigation District and $170,000 to the Pondera Canal and Reservoir Company through the BOR’s WaterSMART grant program. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Daines has successfully worked to include funding for the WaterSMART grant program in appropriations to the BOR.

As Chair of the Senate Western Caucus, Daines has continually fought for Montana water priorities. Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources advanced Daines’ bill, The Clean Water for Rural Communities Act. 

Background on the projects from the BOR:

Montana Malta Irrigation District, Exeter Siphon Project Reclamation Funding: $300,000. Total Project Cost: $845,020

The Malta Irrigation District, located on the Milk River in northern Montana, will replace the existing Exeter Siphon with a new, geosynthetic lined canal embankment across Exeter Creek. The project also includes the installation of a series of culverts to pass creek flows and storm runoff to protect the canal embankment, which will also help to restore the creek bed for wildlife habitat and recreation. A large debris collection system will also be installed as part of the project to reduce spills by preventing plugging of the culverts. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 2,500 acre-feet, currently lost due to leakage and spills, and is expected to improve the quantity and quality of water in the Milk River. 

Pondera County Canal and Reservoir Company, E Canal Regulating Reservoir Project Reclamation Funding: $170,000. Total Project Cost: $350,281

The Pondera County Canal and Reservoir Company in northern Montana will construct an embankment dam across an existing canal to create a regulating reservoir. The project will provide short-term water storage and allow for more consistent downstream water delivery. The project is expected to conserve 1,191 acre-feet of water annually, currently lost to seepage in the E Canal. Conserved water will be used to meet existing demands.