WaterSMART: Water and Energy Efficiency Grants for FY 2014 – 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 shortages 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 crop irrigation, 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 which by themselves no longer meet today’s needs. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s (Department) WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) Program establishes a framework to provide Federal leadership and assistance on the efficient use of water, integrating water and energy policies to support the sustainable use of all natural resources, and coordinating the water conservation activities of various Department bureaus and offices. Through the WaterSMART Program, the Department is working to achieve a sustainable water management strategy to meet the Nation’s water needs. 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 the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) on projects that seek to conserve and use water more efficiently, increase the use of renewable energy and improve energy efficiency, benefit 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. Water conservation and efficiency are crucial to most western States’ plans to ensure that water is available to meet demands into the future.
WaterSMART Grants are an important part of the Department’s implementation of the President’s June 2013 Climate Action Plan and the November 1, 2013, Executive Order, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Through near-term improvements, projects carried out as WaterSMART Grants can increase water management flexibility, making our water supply more resilient and thereby helping to prepare for the impacts of climate change. Current Closing Date for Applications: January 23, 2014.