One of the ways Reclamation is working to ensure a sustainable water supply in the Western United States is its investment in science and technology. In fiscal year 2017, Reclamation is investing $10.9 million for 174 new and continuing internal research projects.

While these are internal research projects, some are partnering with other federal and non-federal entities and universities with a partner cost-share of $11.56 million.

“Reclamation brings unique science and engineering experience to meet these various challenges,” Reclamation Commissioner Estevan López said. “We use our unique experience and partner with other entities to develop solutions that help ensure a sustainable water supply into the future.”

Research proposals were sought in eleven subject areas:

  • water operations and decision support
  • environmental issues in water delivery and management
  • water and power infrastructure reliability
  • conserving and expanding water supplies
  • advanced water treatment
  • climate change and variability
  • infrastructure safety and reliability
  • renewable energy and energy conservation
  • open water data
  • Regional Director Needs
  • invasive zebra and quagga mussels

Research projects were identified using solicited and brokered research processes. Solicited research projects are those proposed by Reclamation staff in response to research needs identified in the call for proposals that do not have proposal development involvement from the Research and Development Office.

Brokered research projects are those that involve the Research and Development Office by identifying specialized research teams from a mix of federal and nonfederal experts and organizations to solve Reclamation’s high priority issues and needs. Once received, the proposals were reviewed and ranked according to Reclamation’s mission and technical validity.

An example of solicited research is “Power Systems Diagnostics” which focuses on improving equipment diagnostic methods and techniques and developing innovative new methods to reduce maintenance costs and equipment downtime in the areas of high-voltage insulation, rotating machine protection, and maintenance testing and diagnostics.

An example of brokered research is “Unmanned Aircraft System Data Collection at Reclamation sites” which involves the evaluation of UAS technologies to determine the possible benefits of using such technologies over traditional methods to collect data for structural condition assessment, foundation and rockfall geologic mapping, and sedimentation studies at Reclamation facilities.

To see a complete list of selected projects or to learn more about Reclamation’s Research Program, please visit