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).

  • News - Launch

    Reclamation launches prize competition to protect steel structures

    (August 22, 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition today, dubbed Rust Busters. This competition is stage 2 of a long-term corrosion protection competition that seeks new, improved or lower-cost solution that can be prototyped to better protect steel structures from corrosion. Many hydraulic steel structures need continuous corrosion protection, but some past methods have been abandoned due to safety and environmental concerns. Many newer protection methods do not last as long, are less effective or come with much higher costs.

    This competition builds upon stage 1, completed in 2017, which sought written theoretical ideas for long-term corrosion protection for hydraulic steel structures. Stage 2 hopes to advance those ideas from the Stage 1 effort and seeks additional concepts that solvers can prototype and submit for further testing and evaluation as part of the competition. Read More
    Visit the Rust Busters Prize Page
    Register to Compete at HeroX

  • News - Launch

    Reclamation launches forecast prize competition

    (July 27, 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a new prize competition, Sub-seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo II. It builds upon an earlier prize competition to advance temperature and precipitation forecasts for the three-to-four and five-to-six-week periods. Skillful sub-seasonal forecasting 15 to 45 days in the future has proven difficult because it bridges short-term forecasting, where initial conditions primarily determine upcoming weather, and long-term forecasting, where slowly varying factors such as sea surface temperatures and soil moisture become more important.

    "While we learned a lot and saw an improvement in these sub-seasonal climate forecast in the first competition, more can be done," said Reclamation Science Advisor David Raff, PhD. "Advancements in forecasts will allow Reclamation and its partners make more informed water management decisions." Read More
    Visit the Rodeo II Prize Page
    Pre-Register at Topcoder

    Watch the Kick Off Video:

  • News - Desalination and Water Purificiation Research Program

    Reclamation awards $5.1 million in research for new ways to desalinate and treat water

    (July 15, 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation announced that 30 projects will receive $5.1 million from the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program to develop improved and inexpensive ways to desalinate and treat impaired water.

    "We are awarding grants to a diverse group of projects to reduce the cost, energy consumption and environmental impacts of treating impaired or otherwise unusable water for local communities across the country,” said Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman. “This funding is a direct result of the Trump Administration’s commitment to increase water supply and delivery through improved technology.” Twenty-five awards are for laboratory-scale projects, which are typically bench scale studies involving small flow rates. They are used to determine the viability of a novel process, new materials or process modifications. Awards are limited to $150,000.

    Read More
    Project Descriptions

  • News - Prize Competitions Program

    Reclamation selects winners of competition to develop solutions for removing sediment from reservoirs

    (July 11, 2019) Reclamation launched a prize competition seeking new and improved techniques for the removal of sediment and transport of that sediment in a cost-effective manner. Of the 40 potential solutions received, six winners will share $75,000. Sedimentation is a significant problem for aging reservoirs as it reduces the amount of water that can be stored. It also impacts the dam outlets, water quality, recreation and downstream habitat.

    "While sediment will never go away, we can seek to minimize its impact and allow the reservoirs to store water for agriculture and cities and minimize the risk of flooding," said competition co-lead Jennifer Bountry. "The solutions have the potential to be cost-effective while preserving and sustaining the objectives of the reservoir. Read More

  • News - Desalination and Water Purificiation Research Program

    Reclamation launches funding opportunity for desalination and water purification pilot projects

    (April 30, 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a novel "pitch to pilot" funding opportunity seeking new innovative technologies or processes for desalination and water purification. Top applicants will pitch their ideas to reviewers for the chance to test through a pilot demonstration.

    "We are addressing a critical need to reduce the costs, energy requirements and environmental impacts for treating unusable water. Our approach is unique. We are streamlining the funding process by asking the strongest applicants to pitch their concept," said Desalination Water Purification Research Program Administrator Yuliana Porras-Mendoza said. "This is an opportunity to take a new approach from the lab to a real-world demonstration, providing products that serve the water treatment community and attract commercial interest." Read More
    View Grant Opportunity at Grants.gov
    Visit the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility

  • News - Science and Technology Program

    Reclamation's Science and Technology project of the year control's invasive mussel biofouling in hydropower cooling systems using hydro-optic UV light

    (April 17, 2019) The Bureau of Reclamation's Science and Technology Program focuses on providing innovative solutions for water and power challenges in the western United States. One research project stood out in 2018 and was recently selected as the Project of the Year. The award was presented to Sherri Pucherelli for the project entitled, "Control of biofouling in hydropower cooling systems using hydro-optic ultraviolet light." The award was selected for its positive impact to Reclamation, other federal and non-federal partners, its efforts to address the current Department of the Interior priorities, the involvement of partners, and its level of innovation. Read More

  • Research Magazine

    River Restoration

    (April 2019) This issue focuses on work in the field of river restoration aimed at helping Reclamation ensure adequate environmental compliance aligned with Reclamation projects. Reclamation conducts river restoration and enhancements on many of its water projects located throughout the West, often motivated by the goal of recovering threatened or endangered species located within these river systems. Activities may include species monitoring, habitat improvement, stream channel reconstruction, threat reduction, ecosystem health assessment, and more. Read Issue

  • News - Science and Technology Program

    FY 2020 Science and Technology Call for Proposals

    (April 9, 2019) 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 4, 2019. Detailed instructions for submitting a proposal are available at the Google site (for Reclamation employees only): FY20 S&T Call Google Site

  • News - Prize Competition Program

    Five winners selected to receive $80,000 in Pathogen Monitoring Prize Competition from the Bureau of Reclamation

    (March 28, 2019) To optimize the design and operations of advanced water treatment facilities the Bureau of Reclamation completed a prize competition and has selected five submissions to share $80,000 in prizes in the Pathogen Monitoring Stage 1 Challenge, with half of the prize purse contributed by Xylem, Inc. The team of Hannah Safford and Heather Bischel, both of Davis, California, was selected to receive the top prize of $40,000 in this competition. Read More

Last Updated: 8/26/19