OGWRP Design and Completion: An All-Hands-on-Deck Process

OGWRP Design and Completion: An All-Hands-on-Deck Process

By: Jennifer Hickenbottom, Odessa Project Manager - Bureau of Reclamation

Since 2018, Reclamation has been given the authorization to utilize federal funding for the implementation of the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program (OGWRP). This resulted in $750,000 going towards the OGWRP in 2018, $2 million in 2019, close to $1.5 million in 2020, and close to $1.5 million in 2021. The reimbursability of these funds depends on the support requested. That being said, Reclamation’s goal is to support the OGWRP as much as possible, within the limitations of the Agency.

Design is a critical first step in OGWRP development, and there are many steps and individual process components that need to be adhered to in order to complete the overall design process (please see the process flowchart for reference). Each component may have separate partners/parties to work with and multiple steps within their own system; therefore, parties must be highly vigilant on when each process component needs to start. The order in which the tasks are conducted is important, as each process has a different duration of time needed for completion, as well as necessary data requirements to even begin. It is extremely difficult (not to mention costly) to try and go back and meet requirements when parties have already moved on to the next step. The necessity of following this process can make the end goal seem unreachable, but, if all partners work together to ensure the timing of the essential tasks, each component can be achieved without jeopardizing the overall schedule.

With so many tasks required to complete the design process, efforts can start to feel overly nickel-and-dimed. That is why Reclamation has determined that there are specific support actions that Reclamation can conduct on a non-reimbursable basis. One such task, is for the physical model necessary for the designs of OGWRP’s proposed pumping plants. Reclamation authorized the use of non-reimbursable funds for Reclamation’s Technical Service Center (TSC) to conduct the physical models. Due to the nature of the flow within the East Low Canal, it is assumed that all the proposed systems will require a physical model be conducted; thus, Reclamation apportioned out the funding necessary to conduct the model for the systems on track for completing their 30% designs.

Along with the modeling, Reclamation is authorized to allocate funds towards design support and review; to work with all parties and partners from 0-30%, 30-60%, 60-90%, to completion and acceptance. Other tasks include environmental review and the writing and submission of necessary documents; cultural resource consultation and concurrence; easement acquisition support; along with construction oversight, project management, and power support. These tasks are required for design, construction, and operational acceptance of the facility – the necessary steps for Reclamation title acceptance which is of particular value to stakeholders because of the low power rate it affords the projects that follow this process. Pumping water through OGWRP pump plants would be substantially more expensive without Reclamation’s power rate.

It takes open communication, collaboration, and reliance that we are all working with the same, accurate information to be as efficient and cost-effective with all the time, money, and effort that everyone involved has, and will continue to invest, in the completion of the Odessa Ground Water Replacement Program.

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