Notice of Revised Instructions for Preparing and Prioritizing Water Program Funding Requests
The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) will implement revised procedures for preparing and prioritizing funding requests in order to improve the management of two water programs with non-recurring annual appropriations. The two programs are the Water Rights Negotiation/ Litigation Program (Water Rights Program) and the Water Resources Management, Planning and Pre-development Program (Water Resources Program). These water programs support the long-term goals of assisting Indian tribes in confirming and defining water rights, resolving claims through negotiation or litigation, and promoting the prudent conservation, management and use of natural resources. All of the BIA's water program managers and many water rights and water resources program managers employed by Indian tribes request these appropriations to support numerous Indian water rights litigation and negotiation efforts, to conduct water resources management, and to develop associated plans for tribal water resources. Typically, the BIA's Office of Trust Services receives more than 400 funding requests annually for water rights and water resources management-related activities. Funding requests are submitted by all 12 of the BIA's Regional Offices and approximately 150 to 175 Indian tribes each year. The current system for preparing and prioritizing water program funding requests needs improvement in order to provide BIA decision makers with more clear demarcations of priority. These revised procedures will allow for more effective prioritization and thus enable BIA decision makers to distribute more efficiently the available water program funds.