Bureau of Reclamation Awards $1.49 Million for Desalination, Water Purification Research Projects

July 30, 2015
Reclamation’s funding will support almost $13.5 million in research

The Bureau of Reclamation selected nine projects to receive $1.49 million under its Desalination and Water Purification Research Program. Reclamation’s funding will support almost $13.5 million in research.

“Improving desalination and water purification across the West is crucial to providing affordable, clean and sustainable water supplies for American communities,” said Commissioner Estevan López. “These projects represent a small portion of the many worthy proposals we have received. The president's budget request for Fiscal Year 2016 includes a 19% increase over this year’s budget and, if approved, this amount would be a big step forward for more projects to receive funding next year.”

Research laboratory projects are small-scale projects used to determine if a process is feasible. Funding is provided for one year and is capped at $150,000 per project. New projects are:

  • Carollo Engineers - $150,000 (California): “Identifying Factors to Increase the Membrane Life in a Seeded Slurry Environment”
  • Regents of the University of California - $150,000 (California): “Overcoming Operating Pressure Barrier in High Recovery Membrane Desalination via Hybrid RO-NF Processes”
  • Vanderbilt University - $145,471 (Tennessee): “Omniphobic Membrane for Robust and Versatile Membrane Distillation Desalination”
  • WateReuse Research Foundation – Hazen and Sawyer - $98,905 (New York): “Developing a Methodology for a Comprehensive Analysis of Alternative Water Supply Projects Compared to Direct Potable Reuse”
  • WateReuse Research Foundation – University of Arizona and Black & Veatch - $150,000 (Arizona): “Integrating Management of Sensor Data for a Real Time Decision Making and Response System”

Pilot-scale projects follow research studies that demonstrate how technology works. They determine the physical viability and suitability of a process on a larger scale. New projects are:

  • Padre Dam Municipal Water District - $200,000 (California): “Maximizing Product Water through Brine Minimization: Innovative Recovery RO Testing”
  • WateReuse Research Foundation – City of San Diego, Calif. - $200,000 (California): “Realizing Reverse Osmosis Potential for Potable Reuse: Demonstrating Enhanced Pathogen Removal”

If the selected pilot projects complete a sufficient amount of work in the first year, they may receive additional funding for a second year. Pilot projects on their second year of funding are:

  • New Mexico State University - $199,974 (New Mexico): “Demonstration of Monovalent Selective Ion Exchange Membranes for Desalination and Reuse Enhancement”
  • San Diego County Water Authority - $200,000 (California): “Pilot Testing Program for the Proposed Camp Pendleton Seawater Desalination Project”

Reclamation received 53 full proposals, having a combined request of $9.6 million in federal funding. These proposals leveraged $18.2 million in non-federal funding. Of the nine projects selected to receive funding, two are continuing pilot projects from Fiscal Year 2014, three are new pilot-scale projects and five are new lab-scale projects. The program is open for academia, private sector, non-profit entities, state and local entities and municipalities to apply.

Using testing and new advanced water treatment technologies, the DWPR Program helps Reclamation and its partners identify widening imbalances between supply and demand in western water basins.

The DWPR Program priorities are overcoming technical, economic and social barriers for direct and/or indirect potable reuse treatment, novel processes and/or materials to treat impaired waters, and concentrate management solutions leading to concentrate volume minimization for inland brackish desalination.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

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