Frequently Asked Questions

WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Overview

Q. What are the objectives for the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. The objective of the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is to invite states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with Reclamation on projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently; increase the production of hydropower; mitigate conflict risk in areas at a high risk of future water conflict; and accomplish other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States.

Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding

Q. How much funding is available for FY 2021 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. The President's FY 2021 budget includes a request for $7.8 million for WaterSMART Grants. Reclamation will determine the final amount of funding available for award for this WaterSMART Grants FOA once final FY 2021 appropriations have been made. Any awards are subject to a determination by Reclamation that FY 2021 appropriations are available and that awards can be made consistent with all program requirements. Updated funding information is available at

This year, Reclamation will award projects in two Funding Groups:

Funding Group I: Up to $500,000 in Federal funds provided through this FOA will be available for smaller on-the-ground projects.

Funding Group II: Up to $2,000,000 in Federal funds will be available for larger, phased on-the-ground projects that may take up to 3 years to complete. Funding for the remaining project years will be made available contingent on subsequent Congressional appropriations. (Note: Recipients will not be asked to reapply to receive FY 2022 and FY 2023 funding).

It is expected that the majority of awards will be made for projects in Funding Group I compared to projects in Funding Group II.

Q. How much funding may any one applicant receive under the FY 2021 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant FOA?
A. No more than $2,000,000 in total WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funds will be awarded to any single applicant under this FOA per fiscal year (i.e., an applicant may receive up to $2.0M in FY 2021 funds.

Eligibility to Apply for Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding

Q. Who is eligible to apply for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding?
A. Under P.L. 111-11, Section 9502, an applicant eligible for funding under this FOA is a state, Indian tribe, irrigation district, water district, or other organization with water or power delivery authority.

Applicants must also be located in the western United States or Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended and supplemented; specifically: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands.

Q. What is the performance period for proposals that are funded by the WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants?
A. In general, projects funded under Funding Group I should be completed within 2 years of award; projects funded under Funding Group II should be completed within 3 years of award.

Applications for projects requiring more time will be considered for funding only under limited circumstances. For example, some hydropower project installations may require additional time to secure necessary permits.

Proposal Development and Selection Process

Q. Will Reclamation advise a potential applicant on the merits of its proposed project?
A. No. Reclamation will not pre-screen, validate, or otherwise discuss the substantive aspects of a proposal. It is up to the applicant to determine whether a proposal aligns with the objectives and criteria of the grant.

Q. May an applicant that received funding last year submit a new proposal in FY 2021?
A. Yes, so long as the new proposal is not for the same work funded the prior year.

Q. If I submitted a proposal for funding in previous years that was not selected for funding, can I re-submit that proposal in FY 2021?
A. Yes. However, it is recommended that you review the FY 2021-Funding Opportunity Announcement and related guidance to ensure that your proposal meets the mandatory requirements and program objectives.

Q. Can I submit more than one proposal for funding?
A. Yes. Multiple applications for funding may be submitted for consideration (for example, an applicant may submit a proposal for funding under Funding Group I, and a separate proposal under Funding Group II); however, no more than $2,000,000 in total FY 2021 WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funds will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA. In addition, each proposal will be reviewed and evaluated on its own individual merits, separate of other proposals.

Cost-Share Requirements

Q. Will proposals with less than 50% cost share be considered?
A. No. Applicants must provide at least 50% of the total project costs from non-Federal sources, either in cash or as in-kind contributions.

Q. Can costs incurred prior to grant award be counted towards the recipient's cost share?
A. Project pre-award costs that have been incurred prior to the date of award may be submitted for consideration as an allowable reimbursable expense. In no case will pre-award costs incurred prior to July 01, 2020, be considered for cost share purposes.

Q. How should the recipient plan for Environmental and Cultural Resources compliance costs?
A. Every project funded under this program will have environmental and cultural resources compliance activities undertaken by Reclamation and the recipient. Depending on the potential impacts of the project, Reclamation may be able to complete its compliance activities without additional cost to the recipient. Where environmental or cultural resources compliance requires significant participation by Reclamation, costs incurred by Reclamation will be added as a line item to the budget during development of the financial assistance agreement and cost shared accordingly (i.e., withheld from the Federal award amount). Any costs to the recipient associated with compliance will be identified during the process of developing a final project budget for inclusion in the financial assistance agreement.

Last Updated: 6/23/20