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Peter Soeth
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Released On: November 07, 2011

WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding Opportunity Now Available
Grants Provide Funding to Make Water Management Improvements in the West
A WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity is now available. The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals from states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to partner with Reclamation on projects that increase water conservation or result in other improvements that address water supply sustainability in the West.

The funding opportunity announcement is available at www.grants.gov using funding opportunity number R12SF80049.

Applications may be submitted to one of two funding groups:

  • Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 will be available for smaller projects that may take up to two years to complete. It is expected that a majority of awards will be made in this funding group.
  • Funding Group II: Up to $1,500,000 will be available for larger, phased projects that will take up to three years to complete. No more than $750,000 in federal funds will be provided within a given fiscal year to complete each phase. This will provide an opportunity for larger, multiple-year projects to receive some funding in the first year without having to recompete for funding in the second and third years.

This year, aspects of the grant criteria have been updated to consider delivery improvements that may lead to future on-farm water conservation projects.

Proposals must seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency, benefit endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, or carry out activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict.

In 2011, Reclamation awarded more than $25 million for 58 Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. These projects were estimated to save about 100,000 acre-feet of water, enough water for about 400,000 people. In addition, over 25 of the projects were expected save more than 15 million kilowatts of electricity per year, enough electricity for about 1,300 people.

The WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation, sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands.

Proposals must be submitted as indicated on www.grants.gov by January 19, 2012, 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. It is anticipated that awards will be made this spring.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.