Water Conservation Field Services | WaterSMART

WaterSMART Program

Reclamation plays a key role in the WaterSMART program as the Department’s main water management agency. Focused on improving water conservation and helping water and resource managers make wise decisions about water use, Reclamation’s portion of the WaterSMART program is achieved through administration of grants, scientific studies, technical assistance, and scientific expertise. There are many activities within WaterSMART; the WaterSMART Grants, Cooperative Watershed Management Program, and Drought Program provide water conservation funding opportunities.

WaterSMART Grants

Water and Energy Efficiency Grants
WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants provide cost-shared funding for projects that save water; increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy in water management; support environmental benefits (i.e., make conserved water available instream or otherwise address endangered species issues); mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply sustainability in the western United States.

The Fund Opportunity Announcement for Water and Energy Efficiency Grants was announced on November 17, 2016 and closes on January 18th, 2017. For more information >>

Small-Scale Water Efficiency Grants (new in FY 2017)
The new small-scale water efficiency projects funding opportunity is for small improvements that have been identified through previous planning efforts. This grant is replacing the implementation grants previously funded under the Water Conservation Field Services Program. Projects eligible for funding include installation of flow measurement or automation in a specific part of a water delivery system, lining of a section of a canal to address seepage, small rebate programs that result in reduced residential water use, or other similar projects that are limited in scope.

The Fund Opportunity Announcement for the Small-Scale Water Efficiency Grants was announced on November 17th, 2016. There is a rolling deadline with the first application review in mid-January and a final closing date of April 27th, 2017.For more information >>

Water Marketing (new in FY 2017)
Through this grant program, Reclamation will provide grants to conduct planning activities in developing a water marketing strategy to establish or expand water markets or water marketing transactions. Water marketing refers to water rights transactions, include the lease, sale or exchange of water rights, undertaken in accordance with state and federal laws, between willing buyers and sellers. A water market refers to a formal arrangement, based on a set of rules and/or water management agreements, to allow for water rights transactions within a specific geographic area. A “water marketing strategy” consists of planning activities including engineering, hydrologic, legal, economic, and other types of analysis, and the development of rules, legal agreements, software and logistical arrangements for water marketing.

The Fund Opportunity Announcement for Water Marketing is due out in February 2017 and will close in April 2017 and it will be posted on http://www.grants.gov.

Cooperative Watershed Management Program and Grants
The Cooperative Watershed Management Program (CWMP) contributes to the WaterSMART strategy by providing funding to watershed groups to encourage diverse stakeholders to form local solutions to address their water management needs. By providing this funding, Reclamation is promoting the sustainable use of water resources and improving the ecological resilience of rivers and streams using collaborative conservation efforts.

Funding is provided on a competitive basis for two types of activities:

  • Development of Watershed Groups

    In 2012, Reclamation began providing funding for the establishment or further development of watershed groups (Phase I). A watershed group is a self-sustaining, non-regulatory, consensus-based group that is composed of a diverse array of stakeholders, which may include, but is not limited to, private property owners, non-profit organizations, Federal, State, or local agencies, and Tribes. As part of Phase I activities, applicants may use funding to develop bylaws, a mission statement, watershed management project concepts, and a watershed restoration plan. For Phase I projects, Reclamation will award a successful applicant up to $50,000 per year for a period of up to two years with no non-Federal cost-share required.

    There is no funding opportunity for 2017 for Phase I projects. It is expected that funding will be available in 2018.

  • Implementation of Watershed Management Projects

    Starting in 2017, Reclamation will provide cost-shared financial assistance to watershed groups to implement watershed management projects (Phase II). These on-the-ground projects, collaboratively developed by members of a watershed group, will address critical water supply needs, water quality, and ecological resilience, helping water users meet competing demands and avoid conflicts over water. Program The Bureau of Reclamation has released a funding opportunity for the Cooperative Watershed Management Program Phase II grants, which provides funding to watershed groups for on-the-ground watershed management projects.

    The Fund Opportunity Announcement for CWMP Phase II was announced on December 15th, 2016 and closes on February 15th, 2017. For more information >>

Drought Program and Grants

Reclamation reformulated its existing drought program in 2015 to improve assistance to States, Tribes, local governments, and districts or other organizations with water or power delivery authority as they build resilience to drought.

Funding for the Drought Program is allocated through a competitive process for the following activities:

  • Drought Contingency Planning

    Reclamation provides financial assistance to develop or update drought contingency plans. Plans must include input and participation by a diverse set of stakeholders. Plans also consider climate change impacts to drought conditions and identify potential drought mitigation and response actions to build resilience to drought as exacerbated by climate change. Actions identified in the plans may be eligible for funding as “drought resiliency projects” so long as they meet program requirements. Drought planning is an essential tool for communities and all levels of government to reduce the impacts from drought before a crisis occurs.

    The Fund Opportunity Announcement for the Drought Contingency Planning was announced on November 15th, 2016 and closes on February 14th, 2017. For more information >>

  • Drought Resiliency Projects

    Reclamation also provides financial assistance to implement projects that build long-term resiliency to drought. Proposed projects that are supported by an existing drought contingency plan will be prioritized for program funding.

    The Fund Opportunity Announcement for the Drought Resiliency Projects was announced on November 15th, 2016 and closes on February 14th, 2017. For more information >>

  • Emergency Response Actions

    Reclamation will continue to fund emergency measures, such as temporary pipes or pumps, or hauling water to address ongoing drought emergencies as authorized under Title I of the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act of 1991 (Drought Act). To be eligible, a State governor or tribal leader must declare a drought and request assistance in writing for the proposed emergency response action, or have a drought plan on file with Congress. Emergency response actions are typically crisis-driven actions in response to unanticipated emergencies.

Related Links
Reclamation WaterSMART Program
2010-2016 WaterSMART Progress Report
WaterSMART Progress Report Fact Sheet
WaterSMART 2010-2016 Data Visualization Tool


Leah Meeks
(208) 378-5025

Bureau of Reclamation
Pacific Northwest Regional Office
1150 North Curtis Road, Suite 100
Boise ID 83706-1234

Last Update: 12/20/16