The Bureau of Reclamation has revealed a new funding opportunity for communities wishing to explore the feasibility of water recycling and water reclamation. The funds will be released to communities in the Western continental U.S. and Hawaii in order to help to spur new water supply opportunities in water stressed areas. The release of additional funds for feasibility studies is part of the Department of the Interior’s WaterSMART initiative, Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Feasibility Study Funding Opportunity.
It is estimated that a total of $1.3 million could potentially be awarded this year for communities exploring the viability of water reuse. Two funding groups are available for communities who wish to apply. The first funding group covers smaller feasibility studies that can be completed within 18 months, and provides up to $150,000 in federal funding.[ii] The second funding group is meant for larger feasibility assessments that can be completed in 36 months – up to $450,000 in federal funds will be made available for this category.[iii] Title XVI studies will focus on examining municipal water reclamation and reuse, industrial domestic or agriculture wastewater, and naturally impaired groundwater and/or surface waters.
This latest move by the Bureau of Reclamation further validates water reclamation as a viable and successful water management tool. Since 1992, approximately $600 million in federal funding has been released through the WaterSMART Title XVI Program. Although still a small fraction of total water infrastructure spending, this federal aid combined with project specific funding has resulted in more than $3 billion in water reuse improvements. In 2011 alone, Title XVI projects were responsible for an estimated 260,000 acre-feet of water being recycled.[iv]
[ii] Peter Soeth, “Bureau of Reclamation Releases Funding Opportunity for Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Feasibility Studies.” Nasdaq Global Newswire. January 13, 2015.