WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Funding Opportunity Now Available

Author: Bevan Griffiths-Sattenspiel

The Bureau of Reclamation announces the availability of the Water and Energy Efficiency Grants funding opportunity, the first funding opportunity in 2010 under Reclamation's WaterSMART program.

The WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow)program is intended to address the most significant challenges facing our water supplies in the 21st century, including population growth, climate change, rising energy demands, environmental needs, and aging infrastructure.

Reclamation is seeking proposals for projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy in water management, protect endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, and carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict.

Eligible applicants that may submit proposals for funding are State or Territory agencies or departments with water or power delivery authority, Federally recognized Indian Tribes with water or power delivery authority, irrigation and water districts, entities created under State or Territorial law with water management authority, municipal water or power delivery authorities, or other organizations with water or power delivery authority. Applicants must also be located in the Western United States or an authorized Territory. Projects will be selected for funding through a competitive process.

Proposals must be submitted as indicated on http://www.grants.gov/ by May 4, 2010, at 4:00 p.m. MDT. It is anticipated that awards will be made this summer. The grant opportunity number is R10SF80157.

Although river and watershed groups are not eligible to receive funding directly under this grant opportunity, groups can work with their water utilities, irrigation districts or other eligible entities to fund restoration, renewable energy or water efficiency projects. Here's a more detailed description of the grant opportunity and the funding available:

The objective of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (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 projects that conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy in the management or delivery of water, protect endangered and threatened species, facilitate water markets, or carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict. With leveraged water sustainability grants, an important step will be taken towards increasing conservation for a more efficient use of water in the West. Two separate Groups of project funds will be awarded as follows: (1) Funding Group I: for projects with a Federal share of up to $300,000; 30-40 awards; between $9,000,000 and $10,000,000 in funding available; (2) Funding Group II: for projects with a Federal share from $300,001 to $1,000,000; 4-8 awards; between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 in funding available. Applicants may submit proposals for both Funding Groups; however, no more than $1,000,000 in Federal funding will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA. Applicants must provide a cost share of 50% or more of the total project cost. Click on the “Full Announcement” button near the top of this Synopsis page to access the full FOA document.

For more information on the WaterSMART program visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/.

Hat-tip to Denise Fort for the lead