U.S. Water News Online
DENVER -- The new chief of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
said that water stored by Western dams must be used as efficiently as
possible given the nation's energy troubles.
John Keys III, sworn into the post in July, told a meeting of the
U.S. Society on Dams that water passing through the 457 dams in the
West must be used several times over, for things such as recreation,
power, and irrigation.
``We will wring every drop of water-use out of our projects,''
Keys said. ``We can use water four, five, or more times before it
gets to its ultimate destination.''
Keys said there would be no major changes in the Bureau of
Reclamation, which monitors the West's dams to ensure arid and
semiarid areas year-round irrigation. It focuses on resource
management and protection of the water.
Echoing calls from Interior Secretary Gale Norton, Keys said the
bureau wants more power put in the hands of the states.
He said that was one of the problems in Klamath Falls, Ore., where
farmers clashed with the federal government this year after a drought
left water scarce. Oregon, which should oversee water rights, has not
yet divvied up rights in most of the Klamath Basin, leaving it
unclear who is entitled to what water, Keys said.
``State water rights is one of the things that fell apart,'' he
He promised a renewed focus on dam safety, saying that 50 percent
of the West's dams were built more than 50 years ago and only 10
percent were constructed with state-of-the-art technology.
He said the bureau had assigned $75 million in fiscal 2002 for dam
The Bureau of Reclamation is an agency of the Department of the
Interior. It delivers water to 31 million people for agricultural,
municipal, industrial, and domestic uses. It is the nation's largest
supplier of water.
Keys, who was an airline pilot, was living in Moab, Utah, at the
time of his nomination to the federal post.
Keys received a master's degree from Brigham Young University and
began working for the bureau in 1964 when he took a job on the
Central Utah Project.
the U.S. Water News Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.