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WaterSMART Grants: Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects for Fiscal Year 2018

Grants to Multiple USA States Nonprofits, Agencies,
IHEs, and Individual to Increase Water Efficiency

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Department of the Interior - Bureau of Reclamation, Policy and Administration

Deadline Date:

07/31/18 4:00 PM MDT


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Grants of up to $75,000 to multiple USA states and territories nonprofit organizations, government agencies, IHEs, and individuals for small-scale projects to increase water efficiency. Applicants may be located in Arizona, California, Colorado, 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.

Program Information:

Through WaterSMART, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) leverages Federal and non-Federal funding to work cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supply reliability through investments in existing infrastructure and attention to local water conflicts. Working together with our stakeholders, WaterSMART provides support for the Department of the Interior’s priorities, including the following:

-Creating a conservation stewardship legacy
-Utilizing our natural resources
-Restoring trust with local communities
-Striking a regulatory balance
-Modernizing our infrastructure

Through Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects, Reclamation provides assistance to states, tribes, irrigation districts, water districts, and other entities with water or power delivery authority to undertake specific small-scale water efficiency projects that have been prioritized through planning efforts led by the applicant. Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects are a component of Reclamation’s WaterSMART Grants Program, which also includes Water and Energy Efficiency Grants and Water Marketing Strategy Grants.

This Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects funding opportunity announcement (FOA) supports specific small-scale water efficiency projects that have been prioritized through planning efforts led by the applicant. 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.

Objective of this Funding Opportunity Announcement:

The objective of this 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 small- scale on-the-ground projects that seek to conserve, better manage, or otherwise make more efficient use of water supplies.

Proposed projects that are supported by an existing water management and conservation plan, System Optimization Review, or other planning effort led by the applicant are prioritized. This prioritization will help ensure that projects funded under this FOA are well thought out, have public support, and have been identified as the best way to address water management concerns.

Streamlined Application and Selection Process:

Reclamation is making an effort to simplify the criteria and streamline the application process for this category of WaterSMART Grants to ensure the process works for smaller entities. Simplified evaluation criteria are intended to provide each applicant with an opportunity to succinctly explain how the proposed project would meet a defined need identified through a prior planning effort. Reclamation has also clarified the budget documentation necessary under this FOA in recognition of the small-scale nature of the projects being funded.

Other Related Funding Opportunities:

A separate FOA for WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants will be posted on ( The Water and Energy Efficiency Grants FOA includes financial assistance on a 50/50 cost share basis for larger water conservation projects.

Through the Drought Response Program, Reclamation provides funding to help build resilience to drought. Through Drought Contingency Planning, Reclamation supports the development of drought contingency plans with participation from a diverse set of stakeholders. Reclamation also provides funding for Drought Resiliency Projects that increase water supply flexibility and improve water management to build long term resilience to drought and are supported by an existing drought contingency plan.

Collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service:

Reclamation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are collaborating to align program resources in areas of the Western United States where our mission areas overlap (17 Western States), to improve the impact of the agencies’ respective drought resiliency and water efficiency investments. In 2011, NRCS and Reclamation began efforts to coordinate water conservation activities in California. Beginning in 2012, Reclamation made changes to WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants to support similar collaboration on a West-wide basis. Applicants under the WaterSMART Grants program receive additional consideration in the evaluation process for delivery system improvements that complement on-farm improvements supported by NRCS such as through their Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Contingent on available appropriations, NRCS provides dedicated EQIP funding to support on-farm water efficiency improvements by producers served by water delivery infrastructure improved through a WaterSMART Grant. In FY 2017, Reclamation and NRCS began working together to expand this partnership to include collaboration on a broader range of activities, including projects funded through this FOA.

Please note that on-farm improvements themselves are not eligible activities for funding under this FOA. NRCS will have a separate application process for the on-farm components of selected projects.

Under this funding opportunity announcement, consideration will be given under Section E.1.2. Evaluation Criterion B—Project Benefits for proposals that describe on-farm efficiency work that is currently being completed or is anticipated to be completed in collaboration with NRCS in the area (e.g., with a direct connection to the district’s water supply). Please contact your local NRCS office for more information regarding NRCS assistance.

Eligible Projects:

Reclamation will provide funding for small-scale on-the-ground water efficiency projects which seek to implement work identified in an applicant’s water planning efforts.

Example projects include, but are not limited to:
-Canal Lining/Piping
-Municipal Metering
-Irrigation Flow Measurement
-Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Automation
-Irrigation Measures

Other projects that are similar to those tasks listed above may be submitted for consideration and will be allowed to the extent that they are consistent with program authorization and goals.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 177535

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 100

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $75,000

Term of Contract:

In general, proposed projects should be completed within two years of award. Applications for projects requiring more time will be considered for funding only under limited circumstances.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Under P.L. 111-11, Section 9502, an eligible applicant is a state, 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: Arizona, California, Colorado, 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.

Those not eligible include, but are not limited to, the following entities:
-Federal governmental entities
-Institutions of higher education
-501(c)4 Organizations
-501(c)6 Organizations

Ineligible Projects:

Projects that are not eligible for funding under this FOA include, but are not limited to:
-Projects considered normal operations, maintenance, and replacement (OM&R)
-Reclamation, reuse, and desalination projects
-Water purchases
-Construction of buildings for administration purposes
-Pilot projects
-Installation of high-efficiency indoor appliances and fixtures, including toilets and urinals

The subsections below have more explanation regarding these types of ineligible projects.

Operations, Maintenance, and Replacement:

In accordance with Section 9504 of the Secure Water Act, projects that are considered normal OM&R are not eligible for funding under this FOA. OM&R is described as system improvements that replace or repair existing infrastructure or function without providing increased efficiency or effectiveness of water distribution over the expected life of the improvement.

Examples of ineligible OM&R projects include:
-Replacing malfunctioning components of an existing facility with the same components
-Improving an existing facility to operate as originally designed
-Performing an activity on a recurring basis, even if that period is extended (e.g., 10-year interval)
-Sealing expansion joints of concrete lining because the original sealer or the water stops have failed
-Replacing broken meters with new meters of the same type
-Replacing leaky pipes with new pipes of the same type

Applicants that have questions regarding OM&R are encouraged to contact the Program Coordinator prior to the application deadline for further information.

Water reclamation, reuse, and desalination projects are not eligible for funding under this FOA. Entities seeking funding for these types of projects should consider Reclamation’s Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program and Drought Response Program. If you have questions about a water reclamation, reuse, or desalination project please contact Amanda Erath at 303-445-2766 or

Water Purchase:

Proposals to use Federal funding to purchase water are not eligible under this FOA. Applicants seeking funding to purchase water in a drought emergency should request emergency drought assistance under Reclamation’s Drought Response Program.

Building Construction:

Proposals to construct a building are not eligible for Federal funding under this FOA (e.g., a building to house administrative staff or to promote public awareness of water conservation).

Pilot Projects:

Proposals to conduct a pilot study to evaluate technical capability, economic feasibility, or viability for full-scale implementation or to test an unproven material or technology are not eligible for Federal funding under this FOA.

High-Efficiency Appliances and Fixtures:

Proposals to install high-efficiency indoor appliances and fixtures, including toilets, either directly or through rebate programs, are not eligible for Federal funding under this FOA.

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must be capable of cost sharing 50 percent or more of the total project costs. Cost sharing may be made through cash or in-kind contributions or donations from the applicant or third-party partners. Cost share funding from sources outside the applicant’s organization (e.g., loans or state grants) should be secured and available to the applicant prior to award.

Total construction costs of each project submitted for funding under this FOA should be no more than $150,000 to $200,000.

The application due date is Tuesday, July 31, 2018, 4:00 PM, MDT.

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Bureau of Reclamation
Financial Assistance Support Section
Attn: Matthew Reichert
P.O. Box 25007, MS 84-27814
Denver, CO 80225


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URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Arizona;   California;   Colorado;   Idaho;   Kansas;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Mexico;   North Dakota;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   South Dakota;   Texas;   Utah;   Washington;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)