About R&D

    The Research and Development Office (R&D) applies science and technology to advance the agency’s mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

    R&D's two programs, Science and Technology (S&T) and Desalination and Water Purification Research (DWPR), address the technical obstacles related to our mission. Research authorization is conducted under the Reclamation Act of 1902 (PDF, 5.6 MB) and the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (PDF, 2.7 MB).


    Stories & Media
    • Awards

      Bureau of Reclamation allocates $3.9 million for 49 science and technology projects to support water management research in the west

      The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $3.9 million through its Science and Technology Program to address research needs associated with managing and generating power in all western states. This research uses internal expertise and experience to provide innovative solutions that can be applied throughout Reclamation for the benefit of its water and power facility managers, customers and stakeholders.

      "Reclamation is addressing critical and complex issues in managing water and generating power in the western United States," Commissioner Brenda Burman said. "These research projects will help Reclamation and its partners meet the demands of western water users today and in the decades to come.” Read More →

    • Event

      Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility hosts water treatment innovations workshop

      The Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, hosted the first annual water treatment innovations and networking workshop. Nearly 100 people attended to see more than 11 presentations from clients of the facility about their work with water treatment technologies.

      One of the presentations came from Reclamation's Katherine Guerra, Ph.D., who shared information regarding funding opportunities through Reclamation. There were several other presentations surrounding water treatment technologies at the facility including reverse osmosis, solar energy in the treatment process and innovative electrodialysis technologies.

      Participants were also able to learn more about the facility, including touring the facility to see its offering of technology development, validation testing and demonstration testing.

      BGNDRF is a focal point for developing technologies for the desalination of brackish and impaired groundwater found in the inland states. Located in Alamogordo, New Mexico, the facility opened on August 16, 2007. BGNDRF brings together researchers from other Federal government agencies, universities, the private sector, research organizations, and state and local agencies to work collaboratively and in partnership. Read More →

    • Quarterly Magazine

      FY 2017 Research Results

      (October 2018) In this issue, the Research and Development (R&D) Office is pleased to highlight accomplishments toward addressing the many technical challenges facing Reclamation as it manages, develops, and protects water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner.

      These accomplishments were the result of funding support from two R&D programs (Science and Technology (S&T) and Desalination and Water Purification Research Advanced Water Treatment (DWPR)), and through the many project-level collaborations involving Reclamation Regional and Denver Offices, other Federal agencies, and non-Federal organizations. Read Issue →

    • News - Desalination and Water Purification Research Program

      Bureau of Reclamation launches funding opportunity for 2019 Desalination and Water Purification Research Program

      (September 12, 2018) The Bureau of Reclamation is making the 2019 funding opportunity for the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. The funding opportunity is available for private industry, universities, water utilities and other research sponsors to submit proposals to cost-share laboratory-scale and pilot-scale projects that address DWPR goals and objectives.

      The goal of the DWPR Program is to increase water supplies by reducing cost, energy consumption and environmental impacts of treating impaired and otherwise unusable waters. Reclamation is interested in research where the benefits are widespread and where research has a national significance — where the issue are of large-scale concern and the benefits accrue to a large sector of the public.

      Applicants for desalination and water purification research projects funding must submit their proposals by 4:00 p.m. MST on Thursday, December 13, 2018. Read More →

      View Grant Opportunity at Grants.gov →

    • News - Desalination and Water Purification Research Program

      Bureau of Reclamation selects 16 projects to receive $3.5 million for desalination and water purification research

      (August 14, 2018) Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that 16 entities will receive $3.5 million for laboratory and pilot-scale research projects as part of the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. The DWPR Program works with Reclamation researchers and partners to develop more innovative, cost-effective and technologically efficient ways to desalinate water.

      “Desalination is an increasingly important source of water for Western communities" Commissioner Burman said. "Investing in innovative technologies to make desalination more affordable and energy-efficient will help many communities across the United States.” Read More →

    • News - Water Prize Competition Center

      Bureau of Reclamation launches prize competition seeking improved methods for monitoring pathogens to facilitate water reuse

      (May 11, 2018) The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition that is seeking improved methods to sample and monitor for pathogens, specifically viruses, in order to help with indirect and direct reuse of wastewater. Solutions sought through this prize competition must improve on the current state of the technology for virus monitoring.

      This is stage one of a planned two-stage challenge. This competition is a theoretical challenge where participants will be asked to submit ideas, along with detailed descriptions, specifications, supporting data or literature, and requirements necessary to bring the idea closer to becoming a product. Up to five prizes may be awarded for a total prize award pool of $80,000. To be successful in this competition, the solution must accelerate the development of either direct or indirect virus monitoring methods for water reuse applications.

      If stage one demonstrates that a second stage is beneficial, stage two will launch as a subsequent competition. In the second stage of the competition, participants will be asked to present their technology and submit a working prototype that puts their idea into practice. Stage two anticipates having a larger prize purse. You will not have to participate stage one of the prize competition to participate in stage two.

      Reclamation is the seeker on this competition and Xylem, Inc. is a co-sponsor, contributing to all aspects, including the prize purse. The Environmental Protection Agency and The Water Reuse Foundation are collaborating on various aspects of this competition. Read More →

    • Quarterly Magazine

      Spring 2018 - Invasive Species

      (Spring 2018) Welcome to the Spring 2018 edition focusing on better detection, monitoring, and control of invasive quagga and zebra mussels. This research category is one of the Science and Technology Program’s priorities and supports the Department of the Interior's initiative to protect Western U.S. ecosystems and hydroelectric facilities from the effects of invasive mussels.

      Over the last ten years since the discovery of quagga mussels in Lake Mead on the Colorado River in January 2007, Reclamation has implemented a coordinated response through a Reclamation-wide Mussels Task Force. The Research and Development Office, through its Science and Technology Program, played a key role in this response and continues to do so by supporting research efforts. Read Issue →

    • News - Science and Technology Program

      FY 2019 Science and Technology Call for Proposals

      (April 17, 2018) The Research and Development (R&D) Office is seeking your expertise and experience to address the Bureau of Reclamation’s many challenges associated with managing water and generating power in the West. If you know of a problem our agency faces that can be solved through applied research and the development of new tools, methods, or practices, we strongly encourage you to submit a research proposal under the Science and Technology (S&T) Program by June 26, 2018. Detailed instructions for submitting a proposal are available at the Google site (for Reclamation employees only): FY19 S&T Call

    • News - Water Prize Competition Center

      Bureau of Reclamation selects eight ideas for its More Water, Less Concentrate prize competition

      (April 4, 2018) Eight ideas were selected from the Stage 1 portion of the More Water, Less Concentrate prize competition. The competition sought innovative concepts to expand usable water supplies by maximizing fresh water production from inland desalination systems in a cost-effective and environmentally sound manner. The solvers will share $150,000.

      "The demand for fresh water will be increasing, and we need to be able to develop new water supplies from non-traditional water sources, like brackish groundwater and surface water using desalination and novel technologies," Commissioner Brenda Burman said. Currently, significant and desirable water supplies are trapped in concentrate streams that are a byproduct of desalination technologies. The cost to manage or dispose of concentrate is rather large and limiting to utilization of desalination in inland applications. This challenge sought innovative concepts to expand usable water supplies by maximizing fresh water production from inland desalination systems, and thereby reduce the volume of concentrate. Read More →

    • News - Water Prize Competition Center

      Bureau of Reclamation awards $50,000 for five arsenic sensor solutions selected through prize competition

      (March 2, 2018) Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced that five private sector and citizen solvers shared a prize competition purse of $50,000 for their submissions of concepts to improve arsenic measurement technologies in water.

      "Current analytical methods are suitable for ensuring regulatory compliance, but there remains a need for rapid, low-cost monitoring of arsenic," Commissioner Burman said. "These selected ideas are a positive step forward to better understand and manage water quality, potentially opening up more usable supplies for the West and the country. We look forward to seeing the application of these proposed solutions."

      Stage 1 of the arsenic sensor prize competition sought concepts for rapidly, accurately, and cost-effectively measuring arsenic in water through improved sensor technologies. Responses were judged, and winners each received a cash prize of $10,000. To advance these concepts, Reclamation will be hosting stage 2 of the competition, which seeks working prototypes of innovative arsenic sensing technologies. Read More →


Last Updated: 10/24/18