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Bureau of Reclamation

Agency Info

Welcome to the Bureau of Reclamation‘s Water Prize Competition Center on  We are seeking bright and creative minds with great ideas that will help us solve critical water problems.

Launching Winter 2016/17 – Reduction to Practice Challenge: Sub-Seasonal Forecast Rodeo – Beat NOAA

About: Reclamation and NOAA have teamed up to find solvers willing to submit forecasts of temperature and precipitation for one year, competing in real-time against other teams, as well as official forecasts from NOAA


Launching Fall 2016 – Grand Challenge: More Water – Less Concentrate

About: As the demand for fresh water increases, the need to develop new water supplies from non-traditional water sources, such as saline (brackish) groundwater and surface water using desalination technologies continues to grow


7/12/2016 Preventing Rodent Burrows in Earthen Embankments

About: Asking for ways to stop and prevent rodents from burrowing into earthen embankments of dams, canals, and levees


Status: Under Evaluation

3/7/2016 Downstream Fish Passage at Tall Dams

About: Seeking new ideas for successful and cost-effective downstream passage for migrating juvenile fish to help recover threatened and endangered species such as salmon and steelhead


Status: Awarded

3/7/2016 Detecting Soil Movement in Earthen Embankments

About: Soliciting innovative methods for detecting soil particle movement both directly or indirectly and earlier in earthen structures and foundations


Status: Awarded

Throughout the year, we will also launch prize competitions that target specific problems within the following three domains:



Water Availability – Water availability is critical to meeting the needs of a growing population and economy.  Water managers face significant challenges in meeting current and future water demands for agriculture, municipal, industrial, Native American, rural, recreation, power generation, and ecosystem needs.

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration – Protecting and restoring aquatic and riparian environments is vital to ensuring that our watersheds are healthy and able to continue providing water supplies that can meet the multitude of competing uses for water in the arid Western United States.

Infrastructure Sustainability – A safe, well-maintained, and reliable inventory of dams, pipelines, hydropower generation facilities, canals, and levees is key to making water available to meet the water needs of the Western United States and our Nation as a whole.

The Bureau of Reclamation is an agency of the United States Federal Government with a mission of managing water for multiple uses in the arid Western United States, where elevation and climate are highly variable, ranging from mountains to desert, and floods to droughts.  Ensuring sustainable and ample supplies of water that are able to meet the spectrum of societal and environmental needs is a mission that intersects multiple Federal agencies.  As such, we are collaborating with other agencies to seek your help finding new and better solutions to those critical problems where we have a shared interest and responsibility.

Learn more about Reclamation’s prize goals and give your feedback on the Reclamation Research page.

News / Updates
Water tanks stand ready for the Desal Prize, April 2015. Photo courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation and Desal Prize.

Water tanks stand ready for the Desal Prize, April 2015. Photo courtesy of Bureau of Reclamation and Desal Prize.

Reclamation co-sponsored the USAID Desal Prize, providing lab testing facilities, engineering and scientific expertise in Alamogordo, New Mexico for the five teams that made the final cut with their renewable energy-powered water desalination technology.

Bloomberg News covered the challenge competition; watch this two-minute video: Burning Man for Water Geeks – Alamogordo, NM

Boston Globe features first place winner MIT-Jain: MIT team makes clean water from the sun Click through, the article includes an information graphic that illustrates the methodology.

El Paso Times features second place winner UTEP and their Zero Discharge Desalination invention: UTEP invention wins second place.

More Information

Our Federal Partners

Federal collaboration enables agencies to leverage federal capabilities, catalyze interagency working relationships, better define and solve joint problems, avoid duplication, and find solutions that have a broader impact across the mission of multiple federal agencies, the stakeholders we collectively serve, and overall public good.

EPA NASA National Atmospheric and Oceanic AdministrationFish and Wildlife U.S. Department of Agriculture US Army Corps of Engineers LogoU.S. Geological Survey National Institute of Standards and Technology

Eradication of Invasive Mussels in Open Water – Stage 1

Bureau of Reclamation

Can you help us eradicate invasive mussels?

Open UntilFeb 28, 2018

Colorado River Basin Data Visualization Challenge

Bureau of Reclamation

Can you help us improve data visualization on the Colorado River?

Closed OnNov 17, 2017

Long-Term Corrosion Protection of Existing Hydraulic Steel Structures – Stage 1

Bureau of Reclamation

Can you help us beat corrosion, the Grim Reaper of steel structures?

Closed OnSep 05, 2017

DataApp: A Mobile App Framework for Field Data Capture – Stage 1

Bureau of Reclamation

Can you help us create a flexible, extensible, open source app for capturing field data?

Closed OnJul 06, 2017

Estimating Reservoir Water Storage

Bureau of Reclamation

Can you tell us how much water is stored behind dams?

Closed OnMay 22, 2017

Sub-Seasonal Climate Forecast Rodeo

Bureau of Reclamation

Compete in real-time forecasting of temperature and precipitation for one year

Open UntilMay 03, 2018

Arsenic Sensor Challenge – Stage 1

Bureau of Reclamation

Help improve arsenic sensing in water

Closed OnMar 13, 2017

More Water Less Concentrate – Stage 1

Bureau of Reclamation

Help desalination plants make more water and less concentrate

Closed OnMar 13, 2017

Preventing Rodent Burrows in Earthen Embankments

Bureau of Reclamation

Help stop and prevent rodents from endangering earthen dams, canals, and levees

Closed OnOct 11, 2016

Downstream Fish Passage at Tall Dams

Bureau of Reclamation

SUBMISSIONS ARE CLOSED: Help us find better ways to pass downstream-moving juvenile fish over or around tall dams.

Closed OnMay 10, 2016

Detecting Soil Movement in Embankments

Bureau of Reclamation

New and/or improved methods to detect internal erosion in earthen dam, canal, and levee embankments.

Closed OnMay 10, 2016

Quantifying Drift Invertebrates in River and Estuary Systems

Bureau of Reclamation

Help us count food for critical fish species

Closed OnNov 16, 2015

New Concepts for Remote Fish Detection

Bureau of Reclamation

Ideas and technologies for next generation, novel fish tracking solutions.

Closed OnAug 26, 2015