The Bureau of Reclamation through its WaterSmart Program is ramping up efforts for two of their 50/50 cost-share basis grants in the coming year. The Small-Scale Water Efficiency grants are for small-scale water management projects that have been identified through previous planning efforts. The Water and Energy Efficiency grant is focused on projects that result in quantifiable water savings and those which support broader water reliability benefits. Only States, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the Western United States or its Territories are eligible to apply for these funding opportunities. Both of these grants focus on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently.

These grants provide an opportunity for local funding support in your community. Below you will find additional details on these grants and deadlines. WNA is available to provide support and technical assistance for Colorado River Basin entities seeking to apply to these WaterSmart opportunities. Please reach out to Kate Moran at [email protected] or phone at (415)-360-2999.

Are you thinking about applying? Read more information below and let us know:

Small-Scale Water Efficiency Grants

Small-Scale WaterEfficiency Projects are part ofReclamation’s WaterSmart Program. The program aims to improve water conservation and reliability, helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use.

The current proposed calendar for 2019 funding opportunity are as followed:

  • December 2018 – Application for funding opportunity announced
  • February 2019 – Application for funding opportunity closes
  • June 2019 – Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects Announced

In 2018, 58 projects were selected to receive $3.7 million for small-scale water efficiency projects in 16 western states. For 2019, there is approximately $3million available under this grant with a streamlined application process. The projects funded with these grants include:

  • Installation of flow measurement devices and automation technology;
  • Landscape irrigation measures;
  • Canal lining or piping to address;
  • Municipal meter upgrades; and
  • Other projects to conserve water.

Who has been funded in past?

Funding of up to $75,000 is provided to projects on a 50-percent cost-share. A complete list of the projects selected is available at:

Example of Selected Projects in 2018:

  • The City of Avondale in Arizona is receiving $75,000 to update two water treatment/booster station wells within their system. They will connect them to their current supervisory control and data acquisition system which will help them better manage their water supplies.
  • The North Kern Water Storage District in Bakersfield, California, is receiving $75,000 to install SCADA software to interface with previously installed SCADA equipment and two evapotranspiration measurement stations in the service area.
  • The City of Gallup in northwest New Mexico is receiving $60,000 to upgrade old mechanical meters with modern solid-state meters for industrial, commercial and institutional users. This project will allow for allow for more accurate measurement of water consumption and is supported by its 2013 water conservation plan.

Water and Energy Efficiency Grants

Water and Energy Efficiency Grants focus on projects that conserve and use water more efficiently. Projects may also lessen the risk of future water conflicts and provide other benefits that contribute to water supply reliability in the western United States. Other projects complement on-farm improvements that can be carried out with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to accomplish coordinated water conservation improvements.

The current proposed calendar for the 2019 funding opportunity are as followed:

  • January 2019 – Application for funding opportunity announced
  • March 2019 – Application for funding opportunity closes
  • May 2019 – Water and Energy Efficiency Projects Announced

In 2018, 54 projects were selected to receive a total of $26.5 million through WaterSmart Water and Energy Efficiency Grants. For2019, there is approximately $25 million available under this grant and the primary criteria being quantified water savings.  The projects funded with these grants can included:

  • Automated gates and control systems
  • Canal lining and piping
  • Hydropower
  • Installation of advanced metering/municipal metering
  • Irrigation flow measurement
  • Landscape irrigation measures
  • Water and energy efficiency

How does the 50/50 Cost Share work?

Funding is divided into Group I and Group II.  Group I funding is up to $300k per project in two years.  Group II funding is up to $1 million in three years. 

Who has been funded in past?

Funding is provided in two groups. Funding Group I projects receive up to $300,000 and can be completed within two years. Funding Group II projects may receive up to $1 million for a phased project up to three years. Projects were selected through a competitive process and must provide a minimum of a50-percent cost-share. The complete list of projects is available at

Example of Selected Projects in 2018:

  • The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes near Pocatello, Idaho, will receive $888,818 to replace a 1,500-horsepower pump on the Portneuf River and install a new variable frequency drive pump. It will also line one mile of earthen canal to reduce water losses due to seepage. The project is expected to result in a water savings of 5,628 acre-feet per year which will increase tribal water supply and improve drought resiliency.
  • The Mapleton Irrigation District andCompany near Provo, Utah, will replace three miles of existing open canals and a box culvert in Hobble Creek Canyon with a pressurized pipeline that will eliminate water losses due to seepage, evaporation and ditch failure. They will receive $300,000 towards the $1.2 million project. It is expected to result in an annual water savings of 1,685 acre-feet each year.
  • The City of Bakersfield will receive$743,300 to install monitoring devices with telemetry at 20 locations along theKern River and a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system to accuratelyand remotely measure Kern River diversions. The $1.6 million project willresult in an annual water savings of 4,592 acre-feet that will be used toreplenish the local groundwater and make more water available to users, helpingto reduce the potential for water-related conflicts in the area.

Key Highlights on WaterSmart Grants

  • Cost Share – 50% non-Federal cost-share requirement (in-kind contributions are allowed)
  • Timeframe – 2-3 years depending on the grant
  • Amount – Federal funding varies by project and grant, often ranging from $75k to $1 million
  • Prioritization – Includes, but not limited to: project benefits, stakeholder support/planning, project implementation, and Department of Interior priorities

Want to see where in the Western US WaterSmart projects have been implemented?  Check out Reclamation’s Data Visualization Tool here.

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