Most of the large dams and water diversion structures in the West were built by, or with the assistance of, the Bureau of Reclamation. While the Army Corps of Engineers built hundreds of flood control and navigation projects, Reclamation’s mission was to develop water supplies, primarily for irrigation to reclaim arid lands in the West. Today, Reclamation manages hundreds of dams and diversion projects, including more than 300 storage reservoirs in 17 western states. These projects provide water to approximately 10 million acres of farmland and a population of 31 million people. Reclamation is the largest wholesale supplier of water in the 17 western states and the second-largest hydroelectric power producer in the nation. Reclamation facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Operations of Reclamation facilities often are controversial, particularly for their effects on fish and wildlife species and conflicts among competing water users.
Date of Report: April 7, 2015
Order Number: IF10175
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