News Release Archive

Reclamation Seeks Comments on Draft Criteria for Three WaterSMART Funding Opportunities

Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects, Updated Water and Energy Efficiency Grants, and Cooperative Watershed Management Program Draft Criteria Available for Review

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615, psoeth@usbr.gov

For Release: September 27, 2016

WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking comments on draft evaluation criteria for three grant categories within the WaterSMART Program, including two within WaterSMART Grants and one within the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Under WaterSMART Grants, Reclamation is proposing to update the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants evaluation criteria and launch a new funding opportunity for Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects. It is also seeking comments on evaluation criteria and eligible project types for Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program.

Several significant changes to the criteria used to evaluate Water and Energy Efficiency Grants have been proposed for fiscal year 2017, which include a new criterion to assess water sustainability benefits of a proposed project, with greatest consideration given to projects that dedicate water for instream flows. Additionally, water marketing will no longer be an eligible activity under Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. Instead, a separate WaterSMART Grants funding opportunity announcement is being developed for water marketing activities; a draft framework for that new funding opportunity is expected to be posted for public review in November 2016.

Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects, a new WaterSMART Grants funding opportunity, will incorporate the types of on-the-ground implementation projects that were previously considered for financial assistance under the Water Conservation Field Services Program. Reclamation has developed simplified criteria for this new funding category and will use a streamlined process to select projects. Other funding opportunities for planning and pre-construction activities will be available separately under the Water Conservation Field Services Program.

The Cooperative Watershed Management Program will begin to provide funding for Phase II watershed management projects in fiscal year 2017. Phase II funding will support local watershed groups in implementing collaborative solutions to water management issues. Reclamation is seeking comments on the draft criteria and eligible project types.

The President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request includes $23.4 million for WaterSMART Grants and $1.75 million for the Cooperative Watershed Management Program. Eligible applicants for WaterSMART Grants include States, Indian Tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, municipalities, and other organizations in the West with water or power delivery authority. Eligible applicants for Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program include established watershed groups that represent a diverse group of stakeholders, have completed a watershed restoration plan, and are capable of promoting the sustainable use of water resources. Funding opportunities for WaterSMART Grants are expected to be published in November 2016, and the funding opportunity for the Phase II of the Cooperative Watershed Management Program is expected to be published in January 2017.

Send your comments on Water and Energy Efficiency Grants and Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects to Darion Mayhorn at dmayhorn@usbr.gov. Comments on the draft criteria will be accepted through October 28, 2016.

Send your comments on Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase II draft criteria and eligible project types to Avra Morgan at aomorgan@usbr.gov. Comments will be accepted through October 28, 2016.

WaterSMART is the Department of the Interior's sustainable water initiative that uses the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand. For more information on the WaterSMART program or download the draft criteria please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.