Innovative ides for developing new water supplies are sought through a grants program offered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
"Metropolitan is sponsoring this Innovative Supply Program to help develop innovative new water supplies for Southern California, and in this United Nations 'Year of Freshwater' possibly help meet water needs globally," said Metropolitan Chairman Phillip J. Pace.
The program is offering a total of $250,000 in grants for concepts with the potential to provide new sources of drinking water for Southern California's 18 million people. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 21.
Publicizing the Innovative Supply Program internationally, the district hopes to receive a large number of applications for funding of creative ideas. Entries will be competitively judged by a panel of experts.
"Thirty years ago, desalinating groundwater, which is far less saline than seawater, was an innovative yet untested idea," said Ronald R. Gastelum, Metropolitan's president and chief executive officer. "Today, desalted groundwater recovery projects provide Southern California with about 32,000 acre-feet a year."
Gastelum noted that the Innovative Supply Program is modeled on a similar Metropolitan grants program that sought pioneering inventions in water conservation.
"Our Innovative Conservation Program brought us inventions, such as a water broom and an X-ray developer that recycles water, that have saved substantial amounts of water. In fact, now that our grants have helped to fully develop the products, we are offering substantial rebates to people who buy them," Gastelum said.
The program is open to all individuals and entrepreneurs, public and private agencies and companies, partnerships and joint ventures. There are no limitations on the age or residency of applicants. The complete request for proposals and the application form are posted in the "Doing Business" section of Metropolitan's Web site, www.mwdh2o.com .
Carlos de Leon, a Metropolitan engineer managing the ISP, said the review panel will favor concepts that have a high potential of being implemented. Concepts that are selected will receive up to 70 percent of their grant immediately, with the remainder awarded at completion.
"Grants won't be awarded for proprietary work that can't be released to the public," de Leon said. "In fact, the winning concepts will be expected to present a final report at a public workshop sponsored by Metropolitan."
Concepts must by completed within a year of signing the contract with Metropolitan. Grant funds can be used to finance studies, testing and development, and trial and demonstration programs, among other related costs and requirements. The work must advance the objective understanding of the innovative idea.
Also available at www.mwdh2o.com  are the Report on Metropolitan's Water Supplies, which outlines the district's near- and long-term water supply outlooks, and the Water Achievement Report which details Metropolitan's diversity of supplies and history of investments in alternatives to imported water.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 18 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other water-management programs.