Indian Affairs | Division of Water and Power

Division of Water and Power

It is the mission of the Division of Water and Power (DWP) to promote self-determination, economic opportunities, and public safety through the sound management of irrigation, dam, and power facilities owned or operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In support of this mission, DWP is committed to the following:

  • Providing our stakeholders with quality services and improved accountability, including protecting and preserving life, property, and trust resources.
  • Assisting tribes in the management of water resources through measurement, analysis, and modeling.
  • Promoting the transfer of management, administration, operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of irrigation, dam, and power facilities to tribes, irrigators, and water user associations.
  • Fostering communication, cooperation, and consultation among Federal, State, tribal, and local organizations related to water resources, irrigation, power, dam safety, security, and emergency management activities.
  • Hiring, training, and retaining highly qualified personnel to manage, operate, maintain, construct, and rehabilitate DWP infrastructure (and to conduct financial matters that support these activities).
  • Promoting state-of-the-art technologies to improve the management and conservation of water resources in a sustainable manner, while maximizing the economic benefits to our stakeholders.
  • Encouraging modern business practices and innovative business techniques to meet the ever-changing needs of our stakeholders.

The DWP is responsible for the management, operation, maintenance, and asset management of BIA-owned irrigation and power projects; and under the SOD program, for maintenance and rehabilitation of dams on Indian lands. The division is also responsible for providing policy, oversight, advisory, and technical support to BIA regions, agencies, and projects on water resources, irrigation, power, SOD, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower licensing and re-licensing.

The DWP includes the following: Irrigation and Power, Safety of Dams (SOD), and Water Resources.

Irrigation and Power
Safety of Dams
Water Resources
DWP Central Office

Irrigation and Power

The irrigation program provides policy, advisory, oversight, and technical assistance to 16 congressionally authorized irrigation projects and associated regions, including billing and collection activities for operations and maintenance (O&M) assessments; and distributes funds both collected and appropriated for the O&M of those facilities. In addition, there are over 100 irrigation systems, mostly operated and maintained by the Indian tribes, which were established under the general authority of the Snyder Act (25 U.S.C. § 13). These 16 irrigation projects and over 100 systems are under the jurisdiction of the specific region or agency where they are located.

The power program provides oversight and limited technical assistance to power projects, regions, and distributes the collected funds for the O&M of those facilities back to the projects.The individual congressionally authorized power projects provide generation, transmission, and distribution of electrical services to customers within their project service area. These three power projects are under the jurisdiction of the specific region or agency where they are located.

For more information on the irrigation and power program, refer to the Branch of Irrigation and Power web page.

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Safety of Dams

The SOD program, which is under the Branch of Dam Safety, Security, and Emergency Management serves Indian trust lands, specifically to protect people, property, resources, and the environment. The Indian Dams Safety Act of 1994 (Public Law No. 103-302) established that the BIA is responsible for all dams on Indian lands.The SOD program is responsible for 137 high- and significant-hazard potential dams in nine regions on 42 Indian reservations. These dams form a significant part of water resources and trust assets for Indian reservations.

For more information on the SOD program, refer to the the Safety of Dams web page. 

Water Resources

Water resources staff serve as the DWP division chief’s liaison to the regional offices, agencies, and American Indian and Alaskan Native governments on issues involving water rights and negotiations, pre-development and water management, attorney fees, litigation support, and the conduct of nationwide evaluations concerning DWP program activities. The protection of Indian water rights, water development projects, litigation support, and attorney’s fees, as well as the BIA’s responsibilities under the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 791 et seq.) in re-licensing hydropower projects that affect Indian trust resources are carried out in this division.

For more information on the water resources program, refer to the Branch of Water Resources web page.

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DWP Central Office

The DWP Central Office staff provide policy, oversight, advisory, and technical support to regions and agencies on water resources, irrigation, power, and SOD. Central Office staff are located in Washington D.C., Lakewood, Colorado, Portland, Oregon, Billings, Montana, Phoenix, and Coolidge, Arizona. Central Office contact information is listed below:  

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Office of Trust Services
Division of Water and Power
1849 C St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Phone: 202.208.5480
Fax: 202.219.0006

BIA Central Office
Office of Trust Services
Division of Water and Power
13922 Denver West Pkwy., Bldg. 54, Ste. 300
Lakewood, CO 80401
Phone: 303.231.5224 or 303.231.5225
Fax: 303.231.5229

Northwest Regional Office
911 NE 11th Ave.
Portland, OR 97232
Phone: 503.231.2278
Fax: 503.231.6791  

Rocky Mountain Regional Office
2021 4th Ave. North, Room 415
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: 406.247.7469
Fax: 406.247.7990  

Western Regional Office
2600 N. Central Ave.
4th Floor Mailroom
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Phone: 602.379.6600
Fax: 602.379.4413

BIA San Carlos Irrigation Project
Financial Oversight Section
13805 N. Arizona Blvd.
Coolidge, AZ 85128
Phone: 520.723.6216
Fax: 520.723.1179


For more information on the BIA's Regional Offices, refer to the Indian Affairs Regional Offices web page.

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