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WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants Announced

The Nation faces an increasing set of water resource challenges. Aging infrastructure, rapid population growth, depletion of groundwater resources, impaired water quality associated with particular land uses and land covers, water needed for human and environmental uses, and climate variability and change all play a role in determining the amount of fresh water available at any given place and time. Water shortage and water-use conflicts have become more commonplace in many areas of the United States, even in normal water years. As competition for water resources grows–for irrigation of crops, growing cities and communities, energy production, and the environment–the need for information and tools to aid water resource managers also grows. Water issues and challenges are increasing across the Nation, but particularly in the West due to prolonged drought.

These water issues are exacerbating the challenges facing traditional water management approaches that by themselves no longer meet today's needs. The Department's WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow) program is working to achieve a sustainable water strategy to meet the Nation's water needs. Through WaterSMART Grants, Reclamation provides cost-shared funding on a competitive basis for on-the-ground water conservation and energy efficiency construction projects.

For further information on the WaterSMART Program, see http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART/.

Objective of Funding Opportunity Announcement
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 save water, improve energy efficiency, address endangered species and other environmental issues, and facilitate transfers to new uses.

Water conservation, use of water markets, and improved efficiency are crucial elements of any plan to address western U.S. water issues. With leveraged water sustainability grants, an important step will be taken towards increasing conservation for a more efficient use of water in the West.

Program Authority
This FOA is issued under the authority of Section 9504 of the Secure Water Act, Subtitle F of Title IX of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, P.L. 111-11(42 USC 10364).

Frequently Asked Questions
A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about WaterSMART and this FOA can be found on-line at http://www.usbr.gov/WaterSMART. The list of FAQs will be updated periodically during the application period.

Total Project Funding
It is expected that up to a total of $14,000,000 will be available for project awards under this FOA. This year, Reclamation plans to award projects in two Funding Groups, as described immediately below.

Project Funding Limitations
Funding will be awarded in two groups:

Funding Group I: Between $9,000,000 and $10,000,000 in Federal funds will be available for awards up to $300,000 per project. Estimated number of agreements to be awarded: 30-40.

Funding Group II: Between $4,000,000 and $5,000,000 in Federal funds will be available for awards between $300,001 to $1,000,000 per project. Estimated number of agreements to be awarded: 4-8.

Reclamation's share of any one proposed project shall not exceed 50 percent of the total project costs.

Multiple applications for funding may be submitted for consideration. However, no more than $1,000,000 in Federal funds will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA.

Award Date
It is expected that the names of potential award recipients will be announced in late June, 2010. Within one to three months after the initial announcement, assistance agreements will be awarded to applicants that successfully pass all preaward reviews and clearance.

More information here.

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