Drought Response Program

The Bureau of Reclamation's Drought Response Program supports a proactive approach to drought by providing assistance to water managers to: develop and update comprehensive drought plans, and implement projects that will build long-term resiliency to drought.

Program areas include:



For more information regarding the Drought Program, please contact the Program Coordinator, Sheri Looper at 303-445-2232 or slooper@usbr.gov. Or, you may contact the Drought contact in your region, as follows:

  • Interior Region 5: Missouri Basin & Interior Region 6: Arkansas-Rio Grande-Texas Gulf - Denis Kelsch, 406-247-7754
  • Interior Region 7: Upper Colorado Basin - Gary McRae, 801-524-3656
  • Interior Region 8: Lower Colorado Basin - Ken Isakson, 702-293-8537
  • Interior Region 9: Columbia-Pacific Northwest - Leah Meeks, 208-378-5025
  • Interior Region 10: California-Great Basin - Rain Emerson, 916-978-5215


  • Webinar on WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Drought Resiliency Projects, and Environmental Water Resources Projects

    The Bureau of Reclamation hosted a webinar on Friday, August 27, 2021, at 1 pm MDT to discuss eligible applicants and project types, program requirements, and the evaluation criteria for three recently announced Funding Opportunities: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants (WEEG), Drought Resiliency Projects (DRP), and Environmental Water Resources Projects (EWRP). Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

    Download PowerPoint slides

  • Reclamation invests in grants to increase water sustainability in the West

    A river running through the forest.Drought and the impacts of climate change are having a significant effect on the Western United States. These impacts include reductions to water resource needs of agriculture, cities and the environment. The three WaterSMART grant opportunities — Drought Resiliency Projects, Water and Energy Efficiency Grants and the new Environmental Water Resources Projects — will help communities throughout the West by increasing water supply sustainability and drought resiliency. Read More →.

  • The FY 2022 Drought Resiliency Projects funding opportunity is now available

    The FY 2022 Drought Resiliency Projects (DRP) funding opportunity is now available on grants.gov. You may access the funding opportunity by clicking here or by searching grants.gov for funding number R22AS00020.

    Drought Resiliency Projects provide funding for on-the-ground projects and modeling tools that increase water supply reliability or improve water management. Applicants are invited to submit proposals under the following funding groups:

    Funding Group I: Up to $500,000 in Federal funds provided for projects that generally should be completed in two years.
    Funding Group II: Up to $2,000,000 in Federal funds for larger projects that may take up to three years to complete.

    Funding applications are due on October 5, 2021. Reclamation anticipates posting the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants and the Environmental Water Resource Projects funding opportunities soon.

    For more information, please email Sheri Looper at slooper@usbr.gov.

  • Reclamation seeks comments on updated eligibility and evaluation criteria for three WaterSMART funding opportunities

    Reclamation is proposing several changes to the WaterSMART program for 2022. Reclamation is seeking public comment on draft eligibility and evaluation criteria for three funding opportunities within the WaterSMART Program to assist with these changes.

    Reclamation proposes updates to the eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria for the Drought Resiliency Projects and Water and Energy Efficiency Grants funding opportunities. Reclamation is also launching a new funding opportunity for Environmental Water Resources Projects. This new funding opportunity will focus on projects that have environmental benefits, are developed as part of a collaborative process, and may be eligible for up to 75% federal funding.

    The changes were developed to incorporate recent amendments to the SECURE Water Act (Title IX, Subtitle F of P.L. 111-11), implement priorities identified in Presidential Executive Order 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, and support the goals of the Interagency Drought Relief Working Group established in March 2021.

    The comment period has closed. Comments received by June 18, 2021, along with Reclamation's responses, are available below.

  • Reclamation providing $808,912 to California, Nebraska and Utah to prepare for future droughts

    A partially wet riverbed in the western United States.The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $808,912 to five entities in California, Nebraska and Utah to develop a drought contingency plan or update an existing plan. These drought plans will help regions and communities plan for and build long-term resiliency to drought. Read More →.

  • Reclamation investing $15.4 million to help communities mitigate drought and climate change impacts in Western United States

    The sun reflecting on a river as it runs through low tree covered hills.The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $15.4 million for projects in the West to prepare for and respond to drought. The WaterSMART Drought Program funding will leverage $54.9 million in non-federal cost-share to complete projects in seven Western states. Read More →

Last Updated: November 3, 2021