Frequently Asked Questions
WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Overview
Q. What are WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Program establishes a framework to provide Federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of various Department bureaus and offices. Through the Program, the Department is working to achieve a sustainable water management strategy to meet the Nation’s water needs. WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants contribute to the WaterSMART strategy by providing cost-shared assistance on a competitive basis for projects that 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 other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict.
Q. What types of projects will be considered for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. Projects should seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency, protect endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, or carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict.
Q. What are the objectives for the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant?
A. The objective of the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on projects that 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 other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict.
Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding
Q. How much funding is available for FY 2016 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. The President’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget request included $23.3 million proposed for WaterSMART Grants. The amount of funding available for award for this WaterSMART Grant FOA will be determined once final FY 2016 appropriations have been made. Please note that approximately $1.3 million of FY 2016 WaterSMART Grants funding will be allocated for additional phases of projects that were selected through previous FOAs. This FOA will be cancelled if FY 2016 appropriations are insufficient to support new awards. Applications submitted under this FOA may also be considered if other funding becomes available in FY 2016 or subsequently.
This year, Reclamation will award projects in two Funding Groups:
Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 in Federal funds provided through this FOA will be available for smaller on-the-ground projects. It is expected that funds will be awarded no later than September 30, 2016, contingent on appropriations.
Funding Group II: Up to $1,000,000 in Federal funds will be available for larger, phased on-the-ground projects that may take up to 3 years to complete. No more than $500,000 in Federal funds will be provided within a given Federal fiscal year (October 1 through September 30) to complete each phase of a selected project, with a maximum of $1,000,000 available for the entire project. Federal funding under this FOA for the first year of phased projects will be awarded no later than September 30, 2016, contingent on appropriations. Funding for the remaining project years will be made available contingent on subsequent Congressional appropriations. (Note: Recipients will not be asked to reapply to receive FY 2017 and FY 2018 funding).
It is expected that the majority of awards will be made for projects in Funding Group I compared to projects in Funding Group II.
Q. How much funding may any one applicant receive under the FY 2016 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant FOA?
A. No more than $1,000,000 in total FY 2016 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funds will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA.
Eligibility to Apply for Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding
Q. Who is eligible to apply for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding?
A. Under P.L. 111-11, Section 9502, an applicant eligible for funding under this FOA a State, Indian tribe, irrigation district, water district, or other organization with water or power delivery authority.
Applicants must also be located in the western United States or Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended and supplemented; specifically: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.
Q. What is the performance period for proposals that are funded by the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. In general, projects funded under Funding Group I should be completed within 2 years of award; projects funded under Funding Group II should be completed within 3 years of award.
Applications for projects requiring more time will be considered for funding only under limited circumstances. For example, some renewable energy project installations may require additional time to secure necessary permits.
Proposal Development and Selection Process
Q. When are FY 2016 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant applications due?
A. Applications are due January 20, 2016, by 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
Q. Will Reclamation advise a potential applicant on the merits of its proposed project?
A. No. Reclamation will not pre-screen, validate, or otherwise discuss the substantive aspects of a proposal. It is up to the applicant to determine whether a proposal aligns with the objectives and criteria of the grant.
Q. Do I have to submit a project proposal that is exclusive to one of the Task Areas listed in Section III.B of the FOA?
A. No. Applications may include any one, or a combination, of the types of projects described in Tasks A-D. In general, if you are seeking funding for multiple projects (for example, a Task A project and a Task C project) and the projects are interrelated or closely related, they should be combined in one application.
Q. May an applicant that received funding last year submit a new proposal in FY 2016?
A. Yes, so long as the new proposal is not for the same project funded the prior year.
Q. If I submitted a proposal for funding in previous years that was not selected for funding, can I resubmit that proposal in FY 2016?
A. Yes. However, it is recommended that you review the FY 2016 Funding Opportunity Announcement and related guidance to ensure that your proposal meets the mandatory requirements and program objectives.
Q. Can I submit more than one proposal for funding?
A. Yes. Multiple applications for funding may be submitted for consideration (for example, an applicant may submit a proposal for funding under Funding Group I, and a separate proposal under Funding Group II); however, no more than $1,000,000 in total FY 2016 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funds will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA. In addition, each proposal will be reviewed and evaluated on its own individual merits, separate of other proposals.
Q. Will proposals with less than 50% cost share be considered?
A. No. Applicants must provide at least 50% of the total project costs from non-federal sources, either in cash or as in-kind contributions.
Q. Can costs incurred prior to grant award be counted towards the recipient’s cost share?
A. Project pre-award costs that have been incurred prior to the date of award may be submitted for consideration as an allowable reimbursable expense. In no case will pre-award costs incurred prior to July 01, 2015, be considered for cost share purposes.