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 & Media
    Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Innovation at Reclamation – Research & Development Office Overview

    Image of Knowledge Stream cover.

    Welcome to the Spring 2022 issue of the Knowledge Stream! In this issue, we provide an overview of Research and Development (R&D) Office and Programs. As the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) carries out its mission, a variety of scientific and technical challenges are encountered that benefit from innovation activities. The R&D Office invests in such innovation through the Desalination and Water Purification Research (DWPR) Program and the Science and Technology (S&T) Program, both of which help to advance Reclamation’s technical abilities to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner. Additionally, the R&D Office houses several other programs: the Reclamation Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Program, the recently authorized Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program, the S&T Prize Competition Program, and the Open Water Data Program. Read Issue  →

  • Research

    Reclamation Releases Report on Emerging Technologies in Snow Monitoring

    A photograph of snow in a mountain forest.The Bureau of Reclamation, on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, is implementing the recently authorized Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program (P.L. 260-116, Sec. 1111). As part of Program framework development, a report to Congress on emerging snow measurement technologies was produced. The report describes the benefits of snow monitoring to water management and other sectors, reviews a range of snow monitoring technologies, and describes how partner agencies will coordinate to implement the Program. Read More →
    Technical Appendix

  • Research

    Reclamation Provides $2.5 Million to Improve Snow Water Supply Forecasting

    A photograph of snow and a running stream in a mountain meadow.The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $2.5 million for 12 projects to advance snow measurement technology development, demonstration and application to improve water supply forecasting. Four projects will include partner contributions of $720,000. Read More →

    Project Descriptions

  • Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Water Avaliability:  Monitoring and Forecasting

    Welcome to the Spring 2021 issue of the Knowledge Stream. In this issue, we highlight research related to forecasting water availability. For many Reclamation Projects, springtime means rivers swollen with snowmelt. During this time, operators rely heavily on forecasts of water availability–from sub-daily streamflow forecasts to seasonal water supply forecasts.

    Reclamation staff and partners are working on a range water availability monitoring, forecasting, and long-term projection activities spanning from research to applications. Read Issue →

  • Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Big Data in Condition Monitoring

    In this issue we spotlight Reclamation’s efforts to rapidly and reliably assess the conditions of its built infrastructure and natural assets to support management decisions. As technologies are rapidly advancing to support retrieval of large amounts of condition information, Reclamation is challenged to find better ways to efficiently collect, analyze and manage these large volumes of data – often coined “big data.”

    Reclamation innovators are striving to make progress in various related areas, aiming to yield new tools and best practices. Read Issue →


    Reclamation moves five ideas forward in prize competition to help improve sediment removal in reservoirs

    (December 10, 2020) WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation has selected five projects to each receive $75,000 through phase one of the Guardians of the Reservoir prize competition. The contest was seeking new ways to effectively and continually manage sediment in reservoirs. Read More →

    Visit the Guardians of the Reservoir >>

  • DWPR - Awards

    Reclamation awards $5.8 million to 22 laboratory and pilot-scale desalination research projects

    (June 18, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation awarded $5.8 million to 22 laboratory and pilot-scale desalination research projects to enable broader deployment of desalination and recycled water technologies. Read More →

    DWPR Project Descriptions

  • Prize Competitions - Awards

    Reclamation selects five projects in prize competition that seeks to extend the life of water infrastructure

    (March 3, 2020) Five projects were selected as winners for the Bureau of Reclamation's Rust Busters Stage II, Phase 1 Prize Competition. The contest sought ideas to extend the life of water infrastructure by reducing corrosion, in particular rust, of its steel structures. These five projects will now proceed to Phase 2 of the competition. Read More →

    Visit the Rust Busters Prize Competition >>

  • Science and Technology Program - Funding

    Reclamation allocates an additional $2.8 million to develop innovative solutions for water and power management issues

    (March 2, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation is providing a total of $2.8 million in additional funds to 30 new research projects through its Science and Technology Program. This additional funding builds on the previously announced award of a total of $8.9 million for 27 new and 114 continuing projects.

    “We are pleased with the variety of research projects submitted in this competition,” said Levi Brekke, Research and Development Program Manager. “These projects will lead to innovative solutions for water and power challenges in the Western United States.” Read More →

    Visit the Science and Technology Program >>

  • Prize Competitions - Awards

    Reclamation awards $75,000 for ideas that lower cost of continuous streamflow monitoring

    (January 21, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey for a prize competition seeking innovative ideas to significantly reduce the cost of continuous streamflow monitoring compared to current methods while also increasing the availability of streamflow data. Accurate and reliable records from continuous streamflow monitoring stations are vital to water resources planning, design, management and research. Of the 40 potential cost-saving solutions received, five winners were selected to share a total prize pool of $75,000.

    "A number of compelling ideas for continuous streamflow monitoring were received," said David Raff, Reclamation’s science advisor. "This demonstrates the continued benefit of soliciting new and novel ideas from the broader public through competitions." Read More →

    Visit the Streamflow Monitoring Prize Competition >>

Last Updated: 5/4/22