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Established in 1902, under Teddy Roosevelt, the Bureau of Reclamation is part of the Department of the Interior. Its presence in the four regions made up of the 17 Western states concerns water resources. Dubbed “Reclamation” because of its initial purpose to provide irrigation in order to “reclaim” unusably arid land for human benefit, Reclamation is best-known for dam and canal projects, including the Hoover and Grand Coulee dams. More recently, however, Reclamation is known for its construction and maintenance of hydroelectric power plants. Emphasis at Reclamation has shifted from that of construction to maintenance of those facilities and environmental water concerns.

Although it is a federally funded agency, Reclamation's projects were in part supposed to be financed by those who benefited from them. Repayment to ...

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