WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant Funding Available for Projects That Conserve Water or Address Water Sustainability

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Here’s the release from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Peter Soeth):

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking proposals for its WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grant funding opportunity. Projects that are eligible must conserve water or result in other improvements that address water supply sustainability in the West.

The funding opportunity announcement is available at http://www.grants.gov using funding opportunity number R13SF80003.

Applications may be submitted to one of two funding groups:

– Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 will be available for smaller projects that may take up to two years to complete. It is expected that a majority of awards will be made in this funding group.

– Funding Group II: Up to $1,500,000 will be available for larger, phased projects that will take up to three years to complete. Applicants may not request more than $750,000 in federal funds within a given year to complete each phase. This will provide an opportunity for larger, multiple-year projects to receive some funding in the first year without having to compete for funding in the second and third years. The second and third year of funding is dependent upon future appropriations.

Projects submitted for funding should seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency, 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.

This funding opportunity is also available for water management improvements that complement other ongoing efforts to address water supply sustainability. Through the WaterSMART Basin Study Program, for example, Reclamation is working with State and local partners, as well as other stakeholders, to comprehensively evaluate the ability to meet future water demands within a river basin. Partners who have completed a basin study may apply for cost-shared funding to implement adaptation strategies that meet the eligibility and other requirements of this funding opportunity.

In addition, funding is available for water delivery system improvements that will enable farmers to make additional on-farm improvements in the future, including improvements that may be eligible for Natural Resources Conservation Service funding.

Entities that are eligible for funding include states, Indian tribes, irrigation districts, water districts or other organizations with water or power delivery authority in the 17 western states, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands.

Reclamation awarded $11 million to 32 projects in 2012. These projects expect to save more than 58,000 acre-feet of water annually, which is enough water for more than 227,000 people. Combined with the non-federal cost-share, the projects selected will complete $32.4 million in improvements.

The WaterSMART Program focuses on improving water conservation and sustainability and helping water resource managers make sound decisions about water use. It identifies strategies to ensure that this and future generations will have sufficient supplies of clean water for drinking, economic activities, recreation and ecosystem health. The program also identifies adaptive measures to address climate change and its impact on future water demands. Through WaterSMART and other conservation programs funded over the last three years, more than 580,000 acre-feet of water per year is estimated to have been saved.

Proposals must be submitted as indicated on http://www.grants.gov by Jan. 17, 2013, 4 p.m. MST. It is anticipated that awards will be made this spring.

To learn more about WaterSMART, please visit www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART.

More conservation coverage here.

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