New prize competition seeks to improve reliability of water deliveries for America's crops by reducing water seeping from canals

Maximizing the water that remains in a canal helps ensure reliable water deliveries for farmers and other water users in the West

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-910-7473,

For Release: February 04, 2021

Water for America's Crops Challenge
Water for America's Crops Challenge
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a prize competition to reduce the amount of water seeping from canal infrastructure throughout the West. The Water America's Crops Challenge seeks to improve water delivery efficiency and minimize canal failures for America's agriculture by reducing water seeping from a canal into the ground.

"We want to deliver water to farmers as efficiently as possible, supporting the use of water for the production of the food needed in the United States," said Reclamation Chief Engineer David Raff. "At the same time, we can limit canal failures, which can result from water seeping through walls and bases."

The challenge will take place through two phases over 24 months. The first phase involves solvers submitting their technical proposals that include expected performance to include effectiveness, durability, maintenance, installation and cost. Proposals are due on June 24, 2021. Up to five finalists will be selected to develop a laboratory-scale version of their proposal for testing at Reclamation laboratories. Each finalist will receive $50,000, and the winner of the prize competition will receive $90,000.

Reclamation is partnering with NASA Tournament Lab and HeroX for this prize 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 $3,000,000 in prizes through 27 competitions in the past six 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.