Guardians of the Reservoir

Lake Powell Delta near Hite, UT.

Launched:  July 14, 2020

Awarded:  September 15, 2022

Prizes: $550,000 in Total Prizes


09/15/2022:  Reclamation recognizes Guardians of the Reservoir Prize Competition winning solution to manage sediment in reservoirs

The lifespan of reservoirs relies on our ability to effectively and continually manage sediment. Sediment enters reservoirs each year, particularly when rivers are experiencing floods or runoff conditions. Sediment accumulation reduces available water storage which affects the ability to meet critical operational objectives along with environmental, cultural and recreational needs.

The Bureau of Reclamation, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is sponsoring a three-phase competition spanning nearly two years that seeks development of more cost-effective sediment removal methods for reservoirs. This competition builds upon the successes of the ‚ÄúSediment Removal Techniques for Reservoir Sustainability‚ÄĚ competition (see archive below), and looks to continue progress in the development of new processes and technologies that collect and/or transport sediment from reservoirs at a rate that sustains their current capacity. This challenge extends the previous effort by offering technical support and testing opportunities to the most compelling ideas.

This competition aims to jumpstart interests and activities to improve sediment removal strategies and stimulate interest in the industry for potential partnerships to further develop innovative solutions.

Related Documents

07/14/2020:  Reclamation launches prize competition seeking innovative sediment removal solutions

12/08/2020:  Reclamation moves five ideas forward in prize competition to help improve sediment removal in reservoirs

04/28/2022:  Reclamation Announces Guardians of the Reservoir phase two winners


Jennifer Bountry |

ARCHIVE:  Sediment Removal Techniques for Reservoir Sustainability

  • Sediment Removal poster.

    Launch: October 9, 2018
    Awarded: July 11, 2019

    Reservoir sedimentation has become a significant problem with the aging of water storage facilities. Sediment deposition in reservoirs limits the active life of reservoirs by reducing reservoir storage capacity for water supply or flood risk reduction. Sedimentation also impacts dam outlets, reservoir water intakes, water quality, recreation, upstream flood stage, and downstream habitat. Most reservoirs are older than 50 years and many are older than 100 years. The sediment-design life (typically 100 years) will be reached when the sediment level at the dam is higher than the outlet and the outlet is prone to plugging.

    Reclamation and our collaborators seek new or improved techniques for reservoir sediment removal and transport of the removed sediment in a cost-effective manner that preserves and sustains the operational objectives of the reservoir. Long-term sediment management cannot use large quantities of the stored reservoir water and should accomplish environmentally-sustainable sediment discharge.

Last Updated: 11/28/22