About R&D

The Research and Development Office (R&D) applies science and technology to advance the agency’s mission to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner in the interest of the American public.

R&D's two programs, Science and Technology (S&T) and Desalination and Water Purification Research (DWPR), address the technical obstacles related to our mission. Research authorization is conducted under the Reclamation Act of 1902 (PDF, 5.6 MB) and the Reclamation Project Act of 1939 (PDF, 2.7 MB).


News & Media

SNOW WATER SUPPLY FORECASTING PROGRAM – NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

Reclamation announces funding opportunity for Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program

(March 28, 2024) The Bureau of Reclamation is making a minimum of 3 million available for emerging snow monitoring technologies. Each selected project is eligible to receive between $300,000 - $999,999 and must include the implementation of aerial LiDAR snow surveys. The funding opportunity is available at www.grants.gov by searching for funding opportunity number R24AS00206. Applications are due on May 6, 2024 at 4 p.m. MDT. Read More →



KNOWLEDGE STREAM MAGAZINE

Innovation in Sedimentation and River Hydraulics Modeling

In this issue we highlight the Sedimentation and River Hydraulics – Two-Dimensional (SRH-2D) model. Since 2004, Reclamation has developed and maintained SRH-2D as a numerical model for simulating river and reservoir processes. The model is used for investigation of a wide range of hydraulic, eco-hydraulic and sediment issues, and for assessing management alternatives and actions. Developing and maintaining the model in-house has allowed it to be tailored to meet Reclamation’s specific needs. Beyond Reclamation, SRH-2D is also used and supported by a range of U.S. and international agencies. Read Issue →



DESALINATION AND WATER PURIFICATION RESEARCH PROGRAM – FUNDING

Reclamation announces $2.2 million in funding for Pitch to Pilot projects

(November 30, 2023) The Bureau of Reclamation chose eight recipients to receive $2.2 million in federal funding for Desalination and Water Purification Research, Pitch to Pilot Program. This financial assistance will allow project sponsors to collaborate with Reclamation to design, construct, install and test their innovative water treatment technologies with a total of $4.0 million in combined federal and cost share funding. "Pilot-scale research projects are a crucial step in the water treatment technology development process," said Research and Development Program Manager, Ken Nowak. "These projects will further advance technologies needed to address nationwide water supply challenges and expand usable water supplies for communities in need." Read More →


Water Supply Forecast Rodeo - Funding

Reclamation announces $500,000 in funding for Water Supply Forecast Rodeo

WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation is launching a Water Supply Forecast Rodeo prize competition to spur innovation and advancements in methods for seasonal water supply prediction. Water supply forecasts are crucial for effective water resource management in the Western U.S. Improved forecast accuracy will help water managers mitigate the impacts of drought, improve hydropower generation, and meet environmental targets. Read More →


Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program - Funding

Reclamation awards $11 million for Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program

Reclamation is awarding $11 million in federal funding to 15 projects to support the advancement of the use of snow monitoring technologies for water supply forecasting. Reclamation’s Research and Development Office sought proposals for projects that demonstrate and/or deploy technologies in emerging snow monitoring, deploy existing snow monitoring technologies in underserved areas, or improve the use of snow monitoring data to enhance water supply forecasts. Projects awarded include $11 million in federal funding and $6.2 million in cost share funding, totaling over $17 million in investment for snow monitoring. Read More →


Project Descriptions
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM – FUNDING

Reclamation invests $2.3 million in Science and Technology Development projects

(September 28, 2023) The Bureau of Reclamation today announced a $2.3 million investment in 25 new science and technology development projects and 118 continuing multiyear projects.

The Science and Technology Program provides funding within Reclamation for projects and technology development utilizing internal expertise and experience to address Reclamation challenges associated with managing water and generating power in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner in the American West.

“Reclamation has a long history of leadership and expertise on technical water management subjects," said Research and Development Program Manager, Ken Nowak. "These projects continue the legacy of Reclamation scientists and engineers bringing innovation to challenges faced by western water managers." Read More →


Visit the Science and Technology Program

Project Descriptions
DWPR – NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

Desalination and Water Purification Research Program: Research Funding Opportunity Available

(September 12, 2023) The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals to receive funding for desalination and water treatment research projects. Up to $2 million is available for entities to submit proposals for laboratory-scale and pilot-scale research projects to increase water supplies by reducing the cost, energy consumption, and environmental impacts of treating impaired or otherwise unusable waters. Applicants must submit their proposals by 4:00 p.m. MST on November 15, 2023.


View opportunity on grants.gov.
PRIZE COMPETITION - AWARD

Reclamation awards $25,000 for Imperfection Detection prize competition

Reclamation’s Imperfection Detection Challenge sought portable tools to non-destructively evaluate the condition of existing fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite structures. Reclamation awarded Team Permittivity $25,000 for their Imperfection Detection prototype. Although the submitted prototype did not meet full award requirements, the novel approach showed good promise as a low-cost future solution. Read More →


PRIZE COMPETITION - AWARD

Reclamation awards $255,000 to winners of river modeling prize competition

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the winners of the Divide and Conquer Challenge. This challenge seeks to significantly improve the execution speed of numerical models that simulate hydraulics, sediment erosion, transport, and deposition in rivers and reservoirs. Read More →


KNOWLEDGE STREAM MAGAZINE

Collaboration Builds Reclamation GIS

In this issue we highlight the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at the Bureau of Reclamation. GIS is a powerful data management platform used to organize and manipulate spatial information for research and operational aspects of Reclamation’s mission. GIS capabilities allow scientists, engineers, technicians, and managers to collect, analyze, interpret, and communicate data on a host of topics ranging from species surveys to infrastructure assets to hydrologic conditions. Robust data management practices and geospatial capabilities are cornerstones of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018, the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act of 2018, and the Modernizing Access to our Public Lands (MAPLand) Act of 2022. Read Issue →




DWPR - AWARDS

Reclamation awards $4 million for new and innovative water treatment technologies

(April 25, 2023) The Bureau of Reclamation awarded funding for 15 projects under the Desalination and Water Purification Research program. The research projects are innovative solutions that seek to reduce water treatment costs and improve performance. "Developing new technologies that can treat currently unusable water will help communities worldwide," said Research and Development Program Manager Ken Nowak. "These technologies have the potential to increase water supply flexibility under the risks of climate change and drought. Read More →

Project Descriptions→

DWPR – NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

Desalination and Water Purification Research Program: Pitch to Pilot Funding Opportunity Available

(April 19, 2023) The Bureau of Reclamation released a funding opportunity through its Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. Reclamation is seeking to develop innovative and disruptive new technologies or processes. This unique funding opportunity is conducted in two-stages. Applicants are invited to submit their written research proposals by June 20, 2023, at 4 pm MDT. The submitted proposals will be reviewed and the highest scoring proposals will be invited to pitch their idea to a panel of experts. Up to $300,000 per applicant is available and approximately six to eight projects will be selected contingent on appropriations.

View opportunity on grants.gov.


PRIZE COMPETITIONS – AWARD

Reclamation awards $160,000 for the Veg Out prize competition

The Bureau of Reclamation has selected phase one winners for the Veg Out prize competition seeking sustainable solutions to manage aquatic vegetation in canals. Winning ideas will share in a total prize purse of $345,000. Read More →


Notice of Funding Opportunity

Reclamation announces funding opportunity for Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program

(March 13, 2023)The Bureau of Reclamation is making up to $11.75 million available for emerging snow monitoring technologies. Each selected project is eligible to receive between $300,000 - $999,999. The funding opportunity is available at www.grants.gov by searching for funding opportunity number R23AS00079. Applications are due on May 12, 2023, at 4 p.m. MDT. Read More →


PRIZE COMPETITIONS – AWARD

Reclamation awards $110,000 for a prize competition to reduce water seeping from canals

The Bureau of Reclamation selected two winners for the Water America's Crops Challenge for their ideas to improve water delivery by reducing water seeping from canals. Read More →


PRIZE COMPETITIONS – AWARD

Reclamation awards $80,000 for improved precipitation measurement devices

(December 16, 2022) The Bureau of Reclamation selected eight solutions to each receive $10,000 and continue in the Counting Every Drop Challenge. This challenge is seeking precipitation measurement devices that are reliable, accurate, low maintenance, and able to operate in remote areas in extreme weather conditions. Read More →


Knowledge Stream Magazine

Innovation in Sustainable Reservoir Sediment Management

Welcome to the Fall 2022 issue of the Knowledge Stream! In this issue, we highlight research and innovation activities related to sustainable reservoir sediment management. Reservoirs provide a buffer to hydrologic variability both within a given year and across years, helping to reliably meet downstream demands. However, as decades go by, reservoirs are steadily losing water storage capacity, with sediment filling space once reserved for water. This presents significant challenges for reservoir operation and maintenance in addition to supply reliability impacts associated with lost storage capacity. Read Issue →




DWPR - FUNDING

Reclamation selects nine projects to receive $1.69 million to test innovative and new water treatment technologies

(November 29, 2022) The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $1.69 million to nine projects that offer innovative and novel water treatment technologies that may make previously unusable water available. The funding is being provided for the recipients to conduct pilot testing on their proposed technology.

"Reclamation has been supporting utilizing new and novel technologies for water resource development for 120 years," said Chief Engineer David Raff. "Water treatment technology is evolving rapidly, and these projects can improve and expand the accessibility to previously unusable water, especially for communities with some of the most urgent water needs". Read More →

Visit the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program →

Project Descriptions →


Knowledge Stream Magazine

Drought in the West

Welcome to the Summer 2022 issue of the Knowledge Stream! In this issue, we highlight research and innovation activities related to drought in the West. As the Nation’s largest wholesaler of water and second largest producer of hydropower, drought strikes at the core of the Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) mission. Read Issue →







  • SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM – FUNDING

    Reclamation invests $6.6 million for innovative water and power solutions

    (September 29, 2022) The Bureau of Reclamation is investing $6.6 million in internal research for the development of innovative solutions for water and power challenges in the West. This includes funding for 21 new research projects and 120 continuing, multi-year projects.

    "The projects selected will directly benefit water and power facility managers, customers, stakeholders and industry," said Senior Advisor for Research and Development Levi Brekke. "The Science and Technology Program contributed to many of the tools and capabilities that western water managers use today." Read More  →

    Visit the Science and Technology Program >>

    Project Descriptions >>


    DWPR: NOTICE OF FUNDING OPPORTUNITY

    Desalination and Water Purification Research Program: Research Funding Opportunity Available

    (September 13, 2022) The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals to receive funding for desalination and water reuse research projects. Up to $2 million is available for entities to submit proposals for laboratory-scale and pilot-scale research projects to increase water supplies by reducing the cost, energy consumption, and environmental impacts of treating impaired or otherwise unusable waters. Applicants must submit their proposals by 4:00 p.m. MST on November 30, 2022. Read More  →

    Funding Opporunity at Grants.gov.


    Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Innovation at Reclamation – Research & Development Office Overview

    Image of Knowledge Stream cover.

    Welcome to the Spring 2022 issue of the Knowledge Stream! In this issue, we provide an overview of Research and Development (R&D) Office and Programs. As the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) carries out its mission, a variety of scientific and technical challenges are encountered that benefit from innovation activities. The R&D Office invests in such innovation through the Desalination and Water Purification Research (DWPR) Program and the Science and Technology (S&T) Program, both of which help to advance Reclamation’s technical abilities to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner. Additionally, the R&D Office houses several other programs: the Reclamation Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Program, the recently authorized Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program, the S&T Prize Competition Program, and the Open Water Data Program. Read Issue  →


    Research

    Reclamation Releases Report on Emerging Technologies in Snow Monitoring

    A photograph of snow in a mountain forest.The Bureau of Reclamation, on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, is implementing the recently authorized Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program (P.L. 260-116, Sec. 1111). As part of Program framework development, a report to Congress on emerging snow measurement technologies was produced. The report describes the benefits of snow monitoring to water management and other sectors, reviews a range of snow monitoring technologies, and describes how partner agencies will coordinate to implement the Program. Read More →
    Report
    Technical Appendix
    Factsheet


  • Research

    Reclamation Provides $2.5 Million to Improve Snow Water Supply Forecasting

    A photograph of snow and a running stream in a mountain meadow.The Bureau of Reclamation is providing $2.5 million for 12 projects to advance snow measurement technology development, demonstration and application to improve water supply forecasting. Four projects will include partner contributions of $720,000. Read More →

    Project Descriptions


    Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Water Avaliability:  Monitoring and Forecasting

    Welcome to the Spring 2021 issue of the Knowledge Stream. In this issue, we highlight research related to forecasting water availability. For many Reclamation Projects, springtime means rivers swollen with snowmelt. During this time, operators rely heavily on forecasts of water availability–from sub-daily streamflow forecasts to seasonal water supply forecasts.

    Reclamation staff and partners are working on a range water availability monitoring, forecasting, and long-term projection activities spanning from research to applications. Read Issue →




    Knowledge Stream Magazine

    Big Data in Condition Monitoring

    In this issue we spotlight Reclamation’s efforts to rapidly and reliably assess the conditions of its built infrastructure and natural assets to support management decisions. As technologies are rapidly advancing to support retrieval of large amounts of condition information, Reclamation is challenged to find better ways to efficiently collect, analyze and manage these large volumes of data – often coined “big data.”

    Reclamation innovators are striving to make progress in various related areas, aiming to yield new tools and best practices. Read Issue →




    PRIZE COMPETITIONS – Award

    Reclamation moves five ideas forward in prize competition to help improve sediment removal in reservoirs

    (December 10, 2020) WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Reclamation has selected five projects to each receive $75,000 through phase one of the Guardians of the Reservoir prize competition. The contest was seeking new ways to effectively and continually manage sediment in reservoirs. Read More →

    Visit the Guardians of the Reservoir >>


    DWPR - Awards

    Reclamation awards $5.8 million to 22 laboratory and pilot-scale desalination research projects

    (June 18, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation awarded $5.8 million to 22 laboratory and pilot-scale desalination research projects to enable broader deployment of desalination and recycled water technologies. Read More →

    DWPR Project Descriptions


    Prize Competitions - Awards

    Reclamation selects five projects in prize competition that seeks to extend the life of water infrastructure

    (March 3, 2020) Five projects were selected as winners for the Bureau of Reclamation's Rust Busters Stage II, Phase 1 Prize Competition. The contest sought ideas to extend the life of water infrastructure by reducing corrosion, in particular rust, of its steel structures. These five projects will now proceed to Phase 2 of the competition. Read More →

    Visit the Rust Busters Prize Competition >>


    Science and Technology Program - Funding

    Reclamation allocates an additional $2.8 million to develop innovative solutions for water and power management issues

    (March 2, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation is providing a total of $2.8 million in additional funds to 30 new research projects through its Science and Technology Program. This additional funding builds on the previously announced award of a total of $8.9 million for 27 new and 114 continuing projects.

    “We are pleased with the variety of research projects submitted in this competition,” said Levi Brekke, Research and Development Program Manager. “These projects will lead to innovative solutions for water and power challenges in the Western United States.” Read More →

    Visit the Science and Technology Program >>


    Prize Competitions - Awards

    Reclamation awards $75,000 for ideas that lower cost of continuous streamflow monitoring

    (January 21, 2020) The Bureau of Reclamation partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey for a prize competition seeking innovative ideas to significantly reduce the cost of continuous streamflow monitoring compared to current methods while also increasing the availability of streamflow data. Accurate and reliable records from continuous streamflow monitoring stations are vital to water resources planning, design, management and research. Of the 40 potential cost-saving solutions received, five winners were selected to share a total prize pool of $75,000.

    "A number of compelling ideas for continuous streamflow monitoring were received," said David Raff, Reclamation’s science advisor. "This demonstrates the continued benefit of soliciting new and novel ideas from the broader public through competitions." Read More →

    Visit the Streamflow Monitoring Prize Competition >>


    Last Updated: 3/29/24