News Release Archive

Reclamation launches prize competition seeking innovative sediment removal solutions for critical water infrastructure

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: July 14, 2020

Guardians of the Reservoir Prize Competiton.
Guardians of the Reservoir Prize Competiton.
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition that is seeking crowdsourced ideas that will lead to innovative sediment removal solutions for water infrastructure. The "Guardians of the Reservoir" challenge seeks ideas to remove or transport the amount of sediment building up in the reservoirs, replacing available space for water storage, that provide critical water supplies for the country. There will be up to a total of $550,000 in cash prizes available for the three-phase the competition.

"Reclamation is the largest water wholesaler in the country, reliably delivering water and power in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner," Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said. "We are excited for this prize competition and the new ideas that it will bring as we seek to better manage sedimentation at our facilities."

This competition delivers on the Department of the Interior and Reclamation’s commitment to address challenges shared by Reclamation and its water customers and stakeholders for many years – how to extend the service life of our reservoirs in the face of accumulating reservoir sediments.

Sedimentation in reservoirs occurs when faster moving rivers transport sediment into slower moving water in reservoirs where it falls out and begins to fill the reservoir. Sedimentation reduces the amount of storage available in a reservoir, impacting the ability of reservoir owners to store water or reduce the risk of floods.

Reclamation is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA Tournament Lab and HeroX on this crowdsourcing competition. To learn more about this competition, please visit

Reclamation conducts prize competitions to spur innovation by engaging a non-traditional, problem solver community. Through prize competitions, Reclamation complements traditional design research to target the most persistent science and technology challenges. It has awarded more than $1,000,000 in prizes through 22 competitions in the past 6 years. Please visit Reclamation's Water Prize Competition Center to learn more.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.