Reclamation invests $9.2M in water, power research in West amid drought

Following a year of record drought, water managers throughout the West are searching for information and ideas to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply. To meet this growing need, the Bureau of Reclamation has officially awarded $9.2 million for 131 research projects.

WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 21, 2014 -- Following a year of record drought, water managers throughout the West are searching for information and ideas to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply. To meet this growing need, the Bureau of Reclamation has officially awarded $9.2 million for 131 research projects.

"Reclamation and its partners in the West are confronting an ever-widening imbalance between supply and demand," said Reclamation Principal Deputy Commissioner Estevan López. "By investing in research to develop innovative solutions, we can provide tools to guide a sustainable water and power future for the West."

Although Reclamation and its customers face many challenges, particular emphasis is given to addressing knowledge gaps in five research priority areas:

  • Increasing water supplies through advanced water treatment technologies
  • Optimizing water availability under a changing and variable climate
  • Controlling invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels that can interrupt water and power deliveries
  • Optimizing hydropower and other forms of renewable energy
  • Improving water infrastructure reliability and safety

The identified knowledge gaps are filled by both competed and directed research.

Partnerships are key for Reclamation in completing these research projects. This year, it has leveraged its $9.2 million, with an estimated $3.8 million in non-federal cost-shared funding. Partners include federal and non-federal agencies, research centers and laboratories, universities, and private companies. In addition to funding, partners also serve as subject matter experts and advisors for the research projects.

Research projects are identified using two different methodologies. For one, Reclamation hosts an internal competition where research is proposed by its employees. Once received, the proposals are ranked, reviewed to ensure their relevance to Reclamation's mission and to ensure their technical validity. Secondly, the Research and Development Office facilitates forming and funding high-performing research teams that can meet Reclamation's high-priority needs that are not well or comprehensively addressed through the internal competitive process. These teams are typically a mix of federal and non-federal experts and organizations.

The complete list of selected projects is available at http://www.usbr.gov/research.

See also:

"Reclamation to issue revision of Standard Criteria for Evaluating Water Management Plans"

"Bureau of Reclamation makes WaterSMART grants available to improve water, energy conservation"

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