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.
Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016
In December 2016, Congress enacted and President Obama signed into law the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act). Sections 3101 and 3222 of the Act address BIA dams and irrigation projects.
Safety of Dams
Section 3101 of the WIIN Act established two Indian dam safety funds to address the deferred maintenance needs of Indian dams. Subject to appropriations, the "High-Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund" will have $22.75 million per year and the "Low-Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund" will have $10 million per year from FY17 to FY30.
The WIIN Act also authorizes a new Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) program to address deferred maintenance needs through expenditures from the two Indian dam safety funds. Eligible high hazard potential dams are those included in the Safety of Dams Program established under the Indian Dams Safety Act of 1994 that are either: (1) owned by the Federal Government and managed by BIA, or (2) have deferred maintenance documented by BIA. Eligible low-hazard potential dams are those covered under the Indian Dams Safety Act of 1994 and are either: (1) owned by the Federal Government and managed by BIA, or (2) have deferred maintenance documented by BIA.
BIA is developing drafts of the programmatic goals and funding prioritization criteria for discussion at the consultation sessions. Please review the documents below.
- Dear Tribal Leader Letter – Safety of Dams
- WIIN Act – Safety of Dams Presentation
- WIIN Act text – Safety of Dams
- WIIN Act - Safety of Dams Visual Aid
Section 3211 of the WIIN Act established an Indian Irrigation Fund to address the deferred maintenance needs and water storage needs of certain Indian irrigation projects. Subject to appropriations, the Indian Irrigation Fund will include $35 million each year from FY17 to FY28 plus any interest accrued.
The WIIN Act also authorizes a new BIA program to address deferred maintenance needs at eligible projects. Pursuant to Section 3222 of the WIIN Act, eligible projects are those that are: (1) owned by the Federal Government; (2) managed and operated by BIA; and (3) have deferred maintenance documented by BIA. BIA is developing drafts of the programmatic goals and funding prioritization criteria for discussion at the consultation sessions. Please review the documents below.
- Dear Tribal Leader Letter – Irrigation
- WIIN Act – Irrigation Presentation
- WIIN Act text – Irrigation
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.
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 Safety of Dams web page.
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.
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
|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
Rocky Mountain Regional Office
Western Regional Office
BIA San Carlos Irrigation Project
For more information on the BIA's Regional Offices, refer to the Indian Affairs Regional Offices web page.
Division of Water and Power
1849 C St., NW
Washington, DC 20240