The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) just announced two WaterSMART grant opportunities, the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants (WEEG) and the Drought Resiliency Grant Projects, now open for applications that could provide important benefits to your community.

Water conservation and efficiency is key to building a resilient water future in the Colorado River Basin. With this in mind, Reclamation's operates through the WaterSmart Program to work cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply through investments to modernize existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts.

If your city or utility is considering applying - and is located in the Colorado River Basin - the WaterNow team is here to provide more information about the program and eligibility requirements, and to facilitate your application process.  We have been working closely with Reclamation staff to help your community take advantage of these great programs. Interested water leaders can join WaterNow's mailing list to learn more about the application process and assistance opportunities.

Water and Energy Efficiency Grants

2020 Application Opened: August 6, 2019

Current Closing Date for Applications: October 3, 2019 4pm MT

Funding Opportunity #: BOR-DO-20-F001

Link to Grant Opportunity

 Summary of Water and Energy Efficiency Grants:

Grants will be awarded to larger projects that will result in quantifiable and sustained water savings and support broader water reliability benefits. These projects conserve and use water more efficiently; 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.

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 receive up to $1.5 million for a phased project up to three years.

Applicants must provide at least a 50 percent cost-share. Per communication with Reclamation staff, last year (FY 2019) 51 out of 111 applicants received funding for this grant. There were 62 applications under Group 1 with 34 selected for funding (~55%), and 49 applications under Group 2 with 17 selected for funding (~35%).

WaterNow staff is available to support cities and utilities interested in applying for funding for water efficiency projects including, but not limited to:

  • Advanced Metering Infrastructure: Projects that install meters that result in measurable water savings. Projects may include:
    • Installing water service meters
    • Installing distribution systems meters associated with production and/or leakage quantification
  • Irrigation Efficiency Measures: Projects that provide water savings by reducing outdoor water usage. These measures are typically promoted by water entities through rebates or direct-install programs. Projects include, but are not limited to:
    • Removing turf
    • Installing smart irrigation controllers
    • Installing high-efficiency nozzles (e.g., rotors)


Drought Response Program – Drought Resiliency Projects

2020 Application Opened: August 6, 2019

Current Closing Date for Applications: October 16, 2019 4pm MT

Funding Opportunity #: BOR-DO-20-F002

Link to Grant Opportunity

Summary of Drought Resiliency Projects Grant:

These are larger grants intended to be spread over 2-3 years projects supported by an existing drought planning effort under the theory that early planning is more cost-effective than emergency response.  A proposed resiliency project under this grant should improve the ability of water managers to continue to deliver water and power during a drought. The proposed project should decrease vulnerabilities and costs of drought by giving water managers flexibility in times of low water supply.

Funding is available in two funding groups:

  • Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 per agreement for a project that can be completed within two years.
  • Funding Group II: Up to $750,000 per agreement for a project that can be completed within three years.

Applicants must also provide a 50 percent non-Federal cost-share. Per communication with Reclamation staff, last year (FY 2019) 18 out of 45 applicants received funding for this grant (40%).

Drought Resiliency Projects are intended to build long-term resilience to drought and reduce the need for emergency response actions. These projects are generally in the final design stage, environmental and cultural resources compliance may have been initiated, and the non-Federal funding, necessary permits, and other required approvals have been secured. Overall, these projects can increase water management flexibility, making a community’s water supply more resilient. Reclamation will fund projects that build resiliency to drought by:

  • Increasing the reliability of water supplies
  • Improving water management
  • Providing benefits for fish and wildlife and the environment

WaterNow encourages you to take advantage of these important funding opportunities! For assistance in applying for WaterSMART grants please sign up here or email Lindsay Rogers, WaterNow’s Colorado Basin Program Manager ([email protected]).


The WaterSMART Program awarded $29.1 million in grants for WEEG and $9 million for Drought Response in 2019. Several cities and utilities applying and receiving funding for projects have championed localized solutions, such as advanced meter infrastructure programs, turf rebate programs, smart controllers, and other sustainable, resilient water projects. The following WaterNow member communities were among the awardees:

2019 Water and Energy Efficiency Grants (WEEG):

  • Southern Nevada Water Authority


  • City of Spanish Fork


  • Long Beach Water Department
  • Moulton Niguel Water District
  • Yorba Linda Water District

Check out the full list of 45 projects awarded under the FY2019 WEEG.

2019 Drought Resiliency Grants:
New Mexico

  • City of Las Cruces
  • Santa Fe County


  • Santa Margarita Water District
  • San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District
  • Long Beach Water Department

A complete list of the 18 projects awarded under the FY2019 Drought Resiliency Grant can be found here.

In addition, congratulations to Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District for being selected to develop a drought contingency plan for its service area under the Drought Contingency Planning Projects!

Share This