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Collaborative Research Approach

The Science and Technology Program, managed by Reclamation's Research and Development Office, provides funding for Reclamation engineers and technical specialists to collaborate with our water project managers and other federal and non-federal science and engineering organizations.  Our Reclamation research teams often use a portion of the funding to integrate academic expertise from universities, and complementary expertise from non-profit and other organizations through cooperative and other types of funding agreements.

How does Reclamation benefit?

This approach leads to coordinated, hands-on research results that are rapidly integrated into our water operations and planning activities, while sustaining agency core technical competencies essential for continued effective water management.

Who do we collaborate with?

Managing water supply and demand is a critical mission of many Federal, state, and local agencies in the Western United States.  Understanding how climate variability and change affects water resources now and in the future, and identifying adaptation strategies, is a shared priority.  Research collaboration and coordination between these entities is essential to ensure efficiency, full utilization of interdisciplinary expertise, and avoid duplication.

The Research and Development Office is collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the Climate Change and Water Working Group (CCAWWG) (pdf 500K). CCAWWG also collaborates with non-federal organizations such as the Western States Water Council, local water municipalities, NOAA’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) Centers, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The Research and Development Office formed this working group in 2008. Recent activities have focused on identifying capabilities and needs common to Reclamation and the Corps of Engineers' missions and to foster collaborative research across water and science agencies to meet these needs.

In 2010, the Department of the Interior established Climate Science Centers at competitively selected universities that will enable our nation’s academic expertise to play a larger role in addressing climate change science challenges and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives that help foster resource management and science partnerships across regional landscapes. The Research and Development Office and our CCAWWG network are establishing ways to collaborate with these new Interior entities as we move forward with our research goals.

Who uses our research results?

Reclamation resource managers use our research results to better manage Reclamation’s project-specific responsibilities, as well as programmatic studies such as those authorized by P.L. 111-11 (The SECURE Water Act) under the Reclamation WaterSMART Program. 

The broad water resource management community directly uses Reclamation’s research results as we conduct research collaboratively and as a result of our reputation as a leader in the water resource management community.

Other researchers use our research efforts to develop the next generation of water resource tools.

Through our collaboration with and utilization of university expertise, we also help to develop the next generation of engineers and scientists who are so important to our nation’s future.