Water Desalination Research and Development


There are three goals for the program: (1) augment the supply of usable water in the United States; (2) understand the environmental impacts of desalination and develop approaches to minimize these impacts relative to other water supply alternatives; (3) develop approaches to lower the financial costs of desalination so that it is an attractive option relative to other alternatives in locations where traditional sources of water are inadequate. The three principal parts of the program are: (1) perform research on desalination technologies and related issues to advance the state of the art forward (research and studies), (2) conduct development and demonstration activities to test technological advancements, confirm economics, and gain public acceptance (development projects), and (3) support operation and maintenance at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF)

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Bureau of Reclamation, Department of The Interior
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2017 Information not available. In Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17), $3.6 million funded twenty-one competed, merit reviewed research projects. Four projects were pilot scale projects and sixteen projects were laboratory scale projects. One project was funded for year 2 of an awarded FY16 pilot project. A total of more than $3.5 million in non-federal cost-share was leveraged with the twenty-one projects this year.
Fiscal Year 2018 Information not available
Fiscal Year 2019 Information not available
Fiscal Year 2020 Information not available
Water Desalination Act of 1996, Public Law 104-298, as amended by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 (WIIN Act) (P.L. 114-322; Section 3801), Reclamation Act of 1902, Sec 1 and Sec 2, and Public Law 111-11, Section 9509.
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Any responsible source, to include individuals, State and local entities, public nonprofit institutions/organizations, other public institutions/organizations, Federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments, small businesses, profit organizations, private nonprofit institutions/organizations, quasi-public nonprofit institutions/organizations, and other private institutions/organizations may submit a proposal which will be considered by Reclamation. Foreign entities are not eligible for funding. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Individuals, State and local entities, public nonprofit institutions/organizations, other public institutions/organizations, Federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments, small businesses, profit organizations, private nonprofit institutions/organizations, quasi-public nonprofit institutions/organizations and other private institutions/organizations.
(1) A detailed written technical proposal including the current status of the technology supporting the proposed research, technical approach proposed to accomplish the work, a scope of work which separates the work into major tasks, applicability to local and/or national water problems, type of personnel participating in the research, type and location of facilities and equipment that will be utilized by the project applicant, experience in this type of research, the environmental impact of the research, an estimate of the costs and/or cost savings ($/1000 gal) and economic and environmental benefit of the technology, and other information that may be useful for proposal evaluation. (2) A detailed project cost proposal including a budget covering salaries and wages, fringe benefits, travel, equipment, supplies, subcontracts, indirect cost rates, funding sources and commitments, cost-sharing, and a breakdown of costs by task.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. An environmental impact statement is required for this listing. An environmental impact assessment is required for this listing. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review. Environmental compliance for this program may be required depending on the scope of the specific project funded. This may result in the need for an environmental impact assessment or environmental impact statement prior to the commencement of project activities.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. A full proposal solicitation package is issued annually by Reclamation. The package may solicit laboratory, pilot-scale, and full-scale research projects. Submission of full technical and cost proposals in accordance with the instructions stated in the announcement document is mandatory. Additionally, applicants must submit all applicable SF-424 forms and a DI-2010 form which will be included in the announcement document.
Award Procedure
The number of awards, maximum funding amount per award, and areas of interest for which proposals will be considered, are determined on an annual basis and are dependent upon the annual appropriation from Congress. Proposals received in response to the annual solicitation are reviewed on the basis of a competitive, merit- review process, and are rated in accordance with evaluation criteria stated in the solicitation document. Reclamation will make awards for the highest rated proposals based on the amount of funding available each year. Reclamation reserves the right to make awards to maintain balance among the program objectives listed in the solicitation document.
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Contact Reclamation for the range of time when proposals are approved or disapproved.
None. Final award decisions are not subject appeal; however, the Bureau of Reclamation will provide all applicants with information on why their proposals were not selected for award.
Continuation of funding for the Program from one fiscal year to the next is at the discretion of the Congress. Yearly solicitation is made for projects of 12 months duration or less (follow-on funding may be available for additional research studies, pilot-plant projects, or demonstration projects). No-cost extensions to awarded agreements are provided for unique projects that can justify additional time beyond the 12-month duration.
How are proposals selected?
Evaluation factors may include, but are not limited to the following: Technical Factors: (1) Demonstrated familiarity with the current technology in the field of work and understanding of the potential difficulties in carrying out the work. (2) Impact of the proposed work on the current technology and on its related economics if a completely successful outcome were achieved. (3) Novelty of approach to the work. (4) Relationship to research priorities. (5) Availability of equipment, instruments, and test facilities required for the work. Managerial Factors: (1) The qualifications, capabilities, and experience of the proposed project manager and other key personnel who are critical to achievement of the proposed objectives. (2) Adequacy, completeness and realism of the research schedule, task phasing, and milestones. (3) The applicant's capabilities, related experience, facilities, techniques, or unique combinations of these which are integral factors for achieving the proposed objectives. Pricing Factor: Cost realism and reasonableness. This requires that costs be directly relatable to items in the research work plan or Project Management Plan, be reasonable, and be appropriate to the project in terms of dollar amount and quantity.
How may assistance be used?
To be used to support research and studies, demonstration and development projects and related activities, and operation and maintenance at BGNDRF as described in the Water Desalination Act and amendments..
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
All recipients of Federal awards shall maintain project records in accordance with 2 CFR 200.333 Retention requirements for records. Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other non-Federal entity records pertinent to a Federal award must be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for Federal awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, respectively, as reported to the Federal awarding agency or pass-through entity in the case of a subrecipient. Federal awarding agencies and pass-through entities must not impose any other record retention requirements upon non-Federal entities, except as noted in 2 CFR 200.333.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching is voluntary. The Federal share of the cost of a project or activity carried out shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the project or activity. A Federal contribution in excess of 25 percent for a project carried out under this Act may not be made unless the Secretary of the Interior determines that the project is not feasible without such increased Federal contribution. Costs of operation, maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation of facilities funded shall be nonfederal responsibilities with the exception of the BGNDRF.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Solicitation is made for projects of 12 months duration or less (follow-on funding may be available for additional research studies, pilot-plant projects, or demonstration projects). No-cost extensions to awarded agreements are provided for unique projects that can justify additional time beyond the 12-month duration. Information not available.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Solicitation documents: Bureau of Reclamation, Acquisitions Operations Group, Attn: Michelle Maher, Mail Code: 84-27810, P.O. Box 25007, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225. Telephone: (303) 445-2025. E-mail: mmaher@usbr.gov
Headquarters Office
Yuliana Porras Mendoza
Bureau of Reclamation, Research and Development Office, Mail Code: 08-10000, P.O. Box 25007, Denver Federal Center,
Denver, CO 25007 US
Phone: (303)445-2265
Fax: (720)544-5682
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 18$1,250,000.00; FY 19 est $1,250,000.00; FY 20 Estimate Not Available FY 17$3,610,000.00; - (Payment terms vary by agreement awarded under this program )
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Range is $100,000 - $500,000, Average $150,000.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
2 CFR 200 UNIFORM ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS, COST PRINCIPLES, AND AUDIT REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL AWARDS and the applicable OMB Circulars. These documents may also be obtained by contacting the Bureau of Reclamation Office listed below.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2018 Information not available.
Fiscal Year 2019 Information not available.
Fiscal Year 2017 Information not available. Projects that are funded with the FY17 funds include innovative algal/membrane hybrid systems, hybrid nanomaterials for silica removal, disinfection byproduct impacts, and novel membrane treatment systems.


Federal Grants Resources