Water Resources Research Act Program

National Competitive Grants

Jump to Projects

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources supports an annual call for proposals to focus on water problems and issues that are of a regional or interstate nature or relate to a specific program priority identified by the Secretary of the Interior and the Institutes.

The goals of the National Competitive Grants program are to promote collaboration between the USGS and university scientists in research on significant national and regional water resources issues; promote the dissemination and results of the research funded under this program; and to assist in the training of scientists in water resources.

Funding for this program is around 1 million dollars in federal funds per year that are required to be matched with non-federal dollars. Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984. Successful research topics have included research on improving and enhancing the nation's water supply, developing innovative approaches to water treatment, evaluation of the dynamics of extreme hydrological events and associated costs; development of methods for better estimation of the physical and economic supply of water; developing approaches for integrated management of ground and surface waters; and the evaluation and assessment of conservation practices.

How to Apply

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources requests proposals for matching grants to support research on the topic of improving and enhancing the nation's water supply, including evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management, and replacement; evaluation of the dynamics of extreme hydrological events and associated costs; development of methods for better estimation of the physical and economic supply of water; alternative approaches and governance mechanisms for integrated management of ground and surface waters; and the evaluation and assessment of conservation practices. Proposals are sought in not only the physical dimensions of supply, but also the role of economics and institutions in water supply and in coping with extreme hydrologic conditions.

  • Any investigator at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States is eligible to apply for a grant through a Water Research Institute or Center established under the provisions of the Water Resources Research Act of 1984, as amended (http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/).
  • Proposals involving substantial collaboration between the USGS and university scientists are encouraged.
  • Proposals may be for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration and may request up to $250,000 in federal funds.
  • Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from non-federal sources.

Download the fiscal year 2021 request for National Competitive Grants (104g) applications (pdf format).


YearInstituteTitlePIsGrant NumberFunding
2020AZIn-stream contaminant attenuation by sunlight: benefits for water reuseDavid QuanrudG21AP10177Federal: $243,563
Non-Federal: $243,564
2020KSIntegrated data science - mechanistic modeling framework to predict cyanoHABS in contrasting freshwater systemsTrisha MooreG21AP10178Federal: $44,193
Non-Federal: $249,993
2020MEUsing paleolimnological and sedDNA reconstructions to assess links between warmer winters and summer cyanoHABs in Maine’s lakesJasmine SarosG21AP10181Federal: $114,080
Non-Federal: $116,026
2020MEInvestigation of Harmful Algal Bloom effects on Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) through Decision Support Tools in Connected Watershed-Estuary SystemsDr. Lauren RossG21AP10179Federal: $82,685
Non-Federal: $82,783
2020OKHarmful algal blooms and public safety: a monitoring and research program aimed at understanding cyanobacterial blooms and toxin productionK.D. HambrightG21AP10181Federal: $82,245
Non-Federal: $83,052
2020WIProcess-Based Prediction of Present and Future Flood Conditions and Uncertainties across the United StatesDaniel WrightG21AP10182Federal: $239,885
Non-Federal: $239,889
2019INPer- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – An emerging environmental and human health concern for the Great Lakes?Dr. Gary A. LambertiFederal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $321,742
2019KSMapping and modeling of interbasin water transfers within the United StatesLandon MarstonG20AP00002Federal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $250,000
2019NYCharacterizing transformation products of organic micropollutants in groundwater and hydrologically connected water supplies impacted by onsite wastewater treatment systemsTeng ZengG20AP00003Federal: $180,335
Non-Federal: $181,625
2019WIMicrobial drivers of mercury methylation in freshwater eutrophic systemsKatherine D. McMahonG20AP00001Federal: $221,160
Non-Federal: $221,160
2018DE104G: Measurements and Modeling to Improve Prediction of Vulnerability of Coastal Water Resources and Ecosystems to Salinization by Storm Surges and Sea-Level RiseHolly A. MichaelG19AP00005Federal: $195,215
Non-Federal: $195,215
2018MA104G: Fate and Impacts of Silver Nanoparticles in Treatment WetlandsNiveen IsmailG19AP00006Federal: $248,201
Non-Federal: $248,438
2018MS104G: Assessing Microplastic Pollution in the Mississippi River System and at Oyster Reefs in the Mississippi Sound EstuaryJames CizdzielG19AC00004Federal: $220,173
Non-Federal: $220,882
2018WI104G: Importance of Bioavailability of Multiple Mercury Sources for Environmental Applications of Stable IsotopesJames P. HurleyG19AP00003Federal: $193,831
Non-Federal: $193,831
2017CAThe Use of NMR Logging Measurements to Estimate Hydraulic Conductivity in Glacial AquifersRosemary KnightG17AP00134Federal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $253,336
2017COHydrodynamic-Enhancement of Nitrate Attenuation by Integrating Reactive Biobarriers into Shallow, Open Water Treatment WetlandsJonathon SharpG17AP00133Federal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $287,623
2017IAFate and Ecological Impacts of Pharmaceuticals in a Temperate Stream Dominated by Wastewater EffluentGregory H. LeFevreG17AP00135Federal: $249,415
Non-Federal: $250,109
2016MTUsing weathering geochemistry to understand the sources of base flow water supply in rivers across mountain-basin transitions in the Upper Missouri WatershedStephanie Ewing, Robert Payn, James Paces, Rob StrieglG16AP00193Federal: $130,381
Non-Federal: $130,381
2016NCThe role of environmental buffers in potable water reuseOlya Keen, Mariya Munir, Michael MeyersG16AP00194Federal: $109,123
Non-Federal: $109,123
2016NHEffects of dissolved organic carbon on methylmercury bioavailability in stream ecosystemsKathryn Cottingham, Celia Chen, James ShanleyG16AP00195Federal: $126,875
Non-Federal: $126,877
2016NVControls on Hydrologic Partitioning, Residence Time and Solute Export in a Snow-Dominated WatershedRosemary Carroll, Rina Schumer, Christopher GreenG16AP00196Federal: $249,625
Non-Federal: $250,783
2016WIDetection of sewage contamination in urban areas of the Great LakesSandra McLellan, Steve CorsiG16AP00197Federal: $240,000
Non-Federal: $250,510
2015COTrace Organic Contaminants (TOrCs) in Urban Stormwater and Performance of Urban Bioretention Systems: a Field and Modeling StudyChristopher Higgins, Edward Furlong, Terri Hogue, John McCrayFederal: $249,960
Non-Federal: $253,099
2015ILUsing bioavailability to assess pyrethroid insecticide toxicity in urban sedimentsMichael Lydy, Amanda Harwood, Kara Huff Hartz, Samuel NutileG15AS00019Federal: $249,329
Non-Federal: $250,978
2015SCHuman and Ecological Health Impacts Associated with Water Reuse: Engineered Systems for Removing Priority Emerging ContaminantsSusan Richardson, Dionysios Dionysiou, Daniel SchlenkFederal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $250,771
2015SDHydrologic Life Cycle Impact of Mountain Pine Bark Beetle InfestationsJames Stone, Scott Kenner, Heidi Sieverding2015SD248GFederal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $250,000
2014IADevelopment of a Comprehensive Hazard to Loss Modeling Methodology for the Residential Damage Associated with Inland Flooding from North Atlantic Tropical CyclonesGabriele Villarini, Jeffery Czajkowski, Erwann MichelKerjanG14AP00172Federal: $248,556
Non-Federal: $249,182
2014INCan there ever be enough? Analysis of the adoption, penetration and effectiveness of urban stormwater best management practicesLaura Bowling, Linda ProkopyG14AP00170Federal: $246,254
Non-Federal: $246,324
2014MDEnvironmental Concentrations and Exposure Effects of Environmental Gestagens on a Sentinel Teleost FishEdward Orlando, Michael Meyer, Patrick PhillipsG14AP00169Federal: $238,055
Non-Federal: $238,811
2014NENitrate Mediated Mobilization of Naturally Occurring Uranium in GroundwaterKarrie Weber, Daniel SnowG14AP00171Federal: $230,839
Non-Federal: $236,661
2014OKHydrogeophysics and Geochemistry of the Boone Aquifer in the Vicinity of the Tar Creek Superfund Site, Ottawa County, OKKumar Ramachandran, Cas Bridge, Bryan TappG14AS00014Federal: $86,543
Non-Federal: $86,543
2012ALSubmarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD) Dynamics at the Gulf Shores of Alabama: Characterization of Nutrient Loading and Saltwater Intrusion using Numerical Modeling Constrained by Geophysical Field DataGeoffrey Tick, Natasha DimovaFederal: $35,885
Non-Federal: $35,893
2012IAWatershed scale water cycle dynamics in intensively managed landscapes: bridging the knowledge gap to support climate mitigation policiesThanos Papanicolaou, Keith Schilling, Douglas Schnoebelen, Christopher WilsonG12AP20154Federal: $154,513
Non-Federal: $155,554
2012MNUnderstanding Pesticide Photolysis in Prairie Potholes for Water Management StrategiesWilliam ArnoldG12AP20153Federal: $102,681
Non-Federal: $102,686
2012NYThe Remote Monitoring of Surface Velocity, Bathymetry, and DischargeEdwin CowenG12AP20155Federal: $91,894
Non-Federal: $91,935
2012ORBiological drivers of freshwater cyanobacterial harmful algal bloom extremes assessed via next-generation DNA sequencing technologyTheo DreherG12AP20157 Federal: $243,835
Non-Federal: $246,791
2012WVModeling the hydrologic response in surface mining watersheds with redesigned reclamation practicesLeslie Hopkinson, Ben Mack, John QuarantaG12AP20156Federal: $224,690
Non-Federal: $224,802
2011ALForecasting toxic cyanobacterial blooms throughout the southeastern U.S.Alan Wilson, Kevin Schrader, Russell WrightG11AP20212Federal: $247,891
Non-Federal: $262,722
2011COWater Quality Impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle Infestation in the Rocky Mountain West: Heavy Metals and Disinfection Byproducts John McCray, Reed MaxwellG11AP20213Federal: $140,162
Non-Federal: $140,259
2011ILDetermining the Fate and Toxicity of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Associated with Coal-Tar and Other Carbonaceous Material Particles in Urban LakesCharles Werth, Michael PlewaG11AP20211Federal: $249,949
Non-Federal: $298,300
2011KSAquifer Storage and Recovery in Near-Surface Aquifers: Development of a New Recharge Approach Using Small-Diameter, Low-Cost WellsGaisheng Liu, Andrea Brookfield, James Butler, Marios Sophocleous, Donald Whittemore, Andrew ZieglerFederal: $177,336
Non-Federal: $178,610
2011NJDrought and Flood in the Eastern USJames Smith, Justin Sheffield, Eric WoodFederal: $249,416
Non-Federal: $249,416
2010AZImproving Hydrologic Investigations through Multi-Model Analysis and Discriminatory Data Collection Paul FerreFederal: $122,136
Non-Federal: $122,140
2010LAHierarchical Multimodel Saltwater Intrusion Remediation and Sampling Designs: A BMA Tree ApproachFrank Tsai, Jeff HanorFederal: $217,645
Non-Federal: $228,868
2010OKScale Dependent Phosphorus Leaching in Alluvial FloodplainsGarey Fox, Brian Haggard, Todd Halihan, Phil Hays, Chad Penn, Andrew Sharpley, Daniel StormFederal: $200,000
Non-Federal: $200,000
2010TXInstitutional Mechanisms for Accessing Irrigation District WaterRon GriffinFederal: $102,443
Non-Federal: $102,724
2010VADenitrifying bacterial community structure and diversity, and denitrification potential as affected by hydrologic design and soil properties in wetlands created in Chesapeake Piedmont, USA Changwoo AhnFederal: $60,396
Non-Federal: $60,402
2010WIImplications of Climate Change and Biofuel Development for Great Lakes Regional Water Quality and QuantityAnita Thompson, Bruno Basso, Mike Fienen, David Hyndman, Randall Jackson, K. Karthikeyan, Anthony Kendall, Brian LeporeFederal: $247,563
Non-Federal: $284,450
2009COAdjoint Modeling to Quantify Stream Flow Changes Due to Aquifer PumpingRoseanna NeupauerFederal: $117,847
Non-Federal: $121,998
2009MACharacterizing and Quantifying Recharge at the Bedrock InterfaceDavid Boutt, Stephen MabeeFederal: $174,490
Non-Federal: $181,817
2009NJDoes urbanization decrease baseflow? A historical, empirical analysis in the coastal states of Eastern United StatesJoshua Galster, Kirk BarrettFederal: $82,489
Non-Federal: $87,935
2009OKEastern redcedar encroachment and water cycle in tallgrass prairie Chris Zou, Dave Engle, Sam Fuhlendorf, Don Turton, Rodney Will, Kim WintonFederal: $226,890
Non-Federal: $286,511
2009TXHydrological Drought Characterization for Texas under Climate Change, with Implications for Water Resources Planning and ManagementVijay Singh, Ashok MishraFederal: $235,148
Non-Federal: $242,866
2009TXThe Role of Epikarst in Controlling Recharge, Water Quality and Biodiversity in Karst Aquifers: A Comparative Study between Virginia and TexasBenjamin SchwartzFederal: $59,300
Non-Federal: $59,299
2007CAImproving aquifer storage recovery operation to reduce nutrient load and benefit water supplyAndrew Fisher, Marc Los Huertos, Charles WheatFederal: $242,508
Non-Federal: $311,431
2007CAA Bayesian approach to snow water equivalent reconstructionNoah Molotch, Steven MargulisFederal: $61,312
Non-Federal: $62,102
2007GAMulti-Scale Investigation of Seawater Intrusion and Application in Coastal GeorgiaJian Luo, Jian LuoFederal: $194,083
Non-Federal: $194,346
2007INNutrient and carbon delivery to streams in artificially drained landscapes of the Midwest: matrix flow, overland flow or macropore flow?Philippe Vidon, Nancy Baker, Jeffrey FreyFederal: $129,042
Non-Federal: $131,041
2007MDIntegration of Stormwater Management Ponds into Urban Communities: Long-term Water Quality Protection, Wildlife, and Environmental AwarenessJoel Snodgrass, Ryan Casey, Edward Landa, Steven LevFederal: $187,474
Non-Federal: $187,690
2006ILEvaluating Alternatives for Watershed-Scale Design of BMPsJohn NicklowFederal: $90,948
Non-Federal: $91,755
2006MNApplication of Wireless and Sensor Technologies for Urban Water Quality ManagementWilliam Arnold, Miki Hondzo, Raymond Hozalski, Paige NovakFederal: $149,176
Non-Federal: $150,482
2006NDCollaborative Research on In Situ Denitrification and Glyphosate Transformation in Ground Water: NAWQA Eastern Iowa Basins Study UnitScott Korom, Paul CapelFederal: $91,988
Non-Federal: $91,988
2006NMValidation, Calibration, and Improvement of Remote Sensing ET Algorithms in Mountainous RegionsJan Hendrickx, Jan KleisslFederal: $74,795
Non-Federal: $74,795
2006TXAn Econometric Investigation of Urban Water Demand in the U.S.Ron GriffinFederal: $103,683
Non-Federal: $104,972
2006VAGrant No. 06HQGR0189 Microtopography Effects on Vegetative and Biogeochemical Patterns in Created Wetlands: A Comparative Study to Provide Guidance for Wetland Creation and RestorationChangwoo Ahn, Gregory NoeFederal: $58,115
Non-Federal: $58,117
2006WAWest-Wide Drought Forecasting System: A Scientific Foundation for NIDISAnne Steinemann, Dennis Lettenmaier, Andrew WoodFederal: $250,000
Non-Federal: $250,000
2006WIIdentifying High-Infiltration and Groundwater Recharge AreasStephen J. Ventura, John Norman, Cynthia StilesFederal: $90,952
Non-Federal: $90,954
2005AZChemolithotrophic denitrification: The missing link in the biogeochemical cycle of arsenicReyes Sierra, James Field, Ronald OremlandFederal: $121,163
Non-Federal: $136,209
2005CAModel Development for Conjunctive Use Planning and Aquifer Protection in Semi-arid RegionsWilliam W-G. YehFederal: $98,534
Non-Federal: $98,534
2005CODevelopment of Characterization Approaches and a Management Tool for the Groundwater-Surface Water System in the Vicinity of Sutherland Reservoir and Gerald Gentlemen Station, Lincoln County, NebraskaEileen Poeter, Eileen PoeterFederal: $132,731
Non-Federal: $142,795
2005HICoastal Groundwater Management in the Presence of Positive Stock ExternalitiesKaeo Duarte, James RoumassetFederal: $148,021
Non-Federal: $184,150
2005LASaltwater Intrusion Management with Conjunctive Use of Surface Water and Ground WaterFrank Tsai, Vijay SinghFederal: $172,842
Non-Federal: $173,616
2005MNAssessing the ecotoxicology of alkylphenol mixtures accross the aquatic food chainHeiko Schoenfuss, Larry Barber, Matthew JuliusFederal: $63,014
Non-Federal: $81,257
2005NDAssessing the Effectiveness of Local Water Institutions in Water ManagementRobert HearneFederal: $150,392
Non-Federal: $150,393
2005NEThe impact of rural water supply systems on property valuesSteven Shultz, Jay LeitchFederal: $62,728
Non-Federal: $78,027
2004AZForward and Inverse Transient Analytic Element Models of Groundwater FlowShlomo NeumanFederal: $131,976
Non-Federal: $134,003
2004AZPharmaceutically Active Compounds: Fate in Sludges and Biosolids Derived from Wastewater TreatmentDavid Quanrud, Robert Arnold, Jon Chorover, Gail Cordy, Wendell ElaFederal: $152,926
Non-Federal: $186,899
2004CAInstitutional Re-arrangements: forging smart use water policy coalitions at the intersection of geo-technical engineering with urban open space Helen IngramFederal: $70,767
Non-Federal: $74,489
2004FLSpace-based monitoring of wetland surface flowShimon WdowinskiFederal: $158,687
Non-Federal: $158,687
2004ILDevelopment and Validation of a 3D Coupled Hydrologic-Biogeochemical Model for Evaluation of the Impact of Water-Table Management on Nitrate Loads from Tile-Drained Agricultural FieldsRobert Hudson, Albert ValocchiFederal: $108,948
Non-Federal: $115,971
2004ILEstimating shallow recharge and discharge in northeastern Illinois using GIS and pattern recognition procedureYu-Feng Lin, Albert ValocchiFederal: $91,197
Non-Federal: $91,197
2004ILCarbonaceous Material Fractions in Sediments and Their Effect on the Sorption and Persistence of Organic Pollutants in Small Urban WatershedsCharles Werth, Barbara Mahler, Peter Van MetreFederal: $170,956
Non-Federal: $176,261
2004ILDevelopment of Water Use Benchmarks for Thermoelectric Power Generation in the United StatesBen Dziegielewski, Tom BikFederal: $94,245
Non-Federal: $40,203
2004WACollaborative Research:Hydraulic and Geomorphic Controls on the Evolution of Cluster Bedforms in Gravel-Bed Streams Thanos Papanicolaou, Lisa ElyFederal: $103,134
Non-Federal: $103,470
2004WAUsing environmental tracers to improve prediction of nonpoint pollutant loadings from fields to streams at multiple watershed scalesC Keller, Richelle Allen-King, Shulin ChenFederal: $157,586
Non-Federal: $212,360
2004WIGroundwater sustainability in a humid climate: Groundwater pumping, groundwater consumption, and land use change. Madeline Gotkowitz, David J. Hart, Charles DunningFederal: $69,246
Non-Federal: $70,230
2003CADynamics of Point and Non-Point Source Fecal Pollution from an Urban Watershed in Southern CaliforniaStanley Grant, Patricia Holden, Brett SandersFederal: $159,045
Non-Federal: $250,000
2003CADistribution and toxicity of sediment-associated pesticides in the Sacramento River watershed.Donald Weston, Michael Lydy, Chris IngersollFederal: $199,927
Non-Federal: $199,986
2003MAA Regional Approach to Conceptualizing Fractured-Rock Aquifer Systems for Groundwater ManagementStephen Mabee, Michele CookeFederal: $92,839
Non-Federal: $94,608
2003MNPhotochemistry of Antibiotics and Estrogens in Surface Waters: Persistence and PotencyKristopher McNeill, Deborah SwackhamerFederal: $134,070
Non-Federal: $134,092
2003NYAn Assessment of New Advances in Low Streamflow Estimation and CharacterizationChuck KrollFederal: $154,058
Non-Federal: $154,589
2003TXBridging the Gap Between Plankton Dynamics and Spatial Variability in Water Quality in the Guadalupe Estuary (Texas): The Importance of Freshwater PulsesStephen Davis, Daniel RoelkeFederal: $233,953
Non-Federal: $234,718
2002AZAgricultural Chemicals as a Major Non-Point Source of Arsenic: Microbial Transformation of Organic ArsenicalsJames Field, A. Gandolfi, Reyes Sierra, John Garbarino, Robert WershawFederal: $137,448
Non-Federal: $166,227
2002COOccurrence and Fate of Emerging Organic Chemicals in Onsite Wastewater Systems and Implications on Water Quality Management in the Rocky Mountain RegionRobert Siegrist, John McCray, Kathryn LoweFederal: $106,822
Non-Federal: $113,470
2002GAMid Infrared Water Quality Sensors for the detection of organic pollutantsBoris MizaikoffFederal: $115,822
Non-Federal: $115,822
2002IARelationship of Nitroso Compound Formation Potential to Drinking Source Water Quality and Organic Nitrogen Precursor Source CharacteristicsRichard ValentineFederal: $134,914
Non-Federal: $175,042
2002IAAn Integrated Immunological-GIS Approach for Bio-monitoring of Ecological Impacts of Swine Manure Pollutants in StreamsJames Roth, Dusan Palic, Bruce Menzel, Clay PierceFederal: $135,328
Non-Federal: $163,067