The US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) has awarded a US$3.9M contract for replacement of the radio system at Grand Coulee dam that will update and improve overall communications.

Engineered Systems of Omaha, Nebraska, was awarded the contract on 7 July 2003, and are expected to complete the work by 1 October 2004. The contractor will install and replace a variety of electronics equipment located throughout the Grand Coulee project.

The new radio system is required to meet federal requirements, which mandate that all government radio operations in the VHF (Very High Frequency) bands must be narrow-banded in order to take advantage of advanced technology and to enhance system operations.

Grand Coulee dam is a key feature of the USBR’s Columbia Basin project in central Washington. A multi-purpose project, it provides flood control, irrigation, hydro power production, recreation, stream flows, and fish and wildlife benefits. The dam includes three power plants, a pump-generating plant, and three switchyards. Franklin D. Roosevelt lake behind the dam is 243km long with over 6.17Bm3 of active storage. Water is pumped for irrigation in the Columbia Basin to irrigate approximately 222,585ha with an ultimate potential of 445,170ha.