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
    • 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 →

    • News - Desalination and Water Purification Research Program

      Bureau of Reclamation announces Desalination and Water Purification Research Program funding opportunity

      (February 27, 2018) The Bureau of Reclamation has released a funding opportunity through its Desalination and Water Purification Research Program for fiscal year 2018. This funding opportunity invites private industry, universities, water utilities, and other research sponsors to submit proposals to cost share laboratory scale and pilot scale projects that address DWPR program goals and objectives.

      Individuals, institutions of higher education, commercial and industrial organizations, private entities, State and local governments, federally funded research and development centers, Tribal governments and organizations, United States-Mexico binational research foundations and inter-university research programs, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply.

      Applicants for desalination and water purification research projects funding must submit their proposals by 4:00 p.m. MDT on Tuesday May 1, 2018. Read More →

      View Grant Opportunity at Grants.gov →

      Visit the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility →

Last Updated: 5/11/18