Cover photo for Water Conservation Field Services Program

Water Conservation Field Services Program

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The Water Conservation Field Services Program (WCFSP) was established by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1996 to proactively encourage water conservation in the operations of recipients of water from Federal water projects and to assist agricultural and urban water districts in preparing and implementing water conservation plans in accordance with the Reclamation Reform Act of 1982. The WCFSP is managed by each of Reclamation’s regional offices and implemented at the local level through Reclamation’s area offices to address Reclamation-wide water conservation priorities and to meet local goals. Funding is used to make cost-shared financial assistance available on a competitive basis at the area and regional office levels, as well as for technical assistance from Reclamation staff. Funding may be used to develop water conservation plans, identify water management improvements through System Optimization Reviews, design water management improvements, and to improve application of water conservation technologies through demonstration activities.

Technical Assistance:

Technical assistance involves water districts and other entities work directly with Reclamation staff to address water management issues. Technical assistance includes water conservation planning for improved canal operation and diversion works, improved or innovative water measurement, delivery, distribution, and urban conservation retrofit programs.

Financial Assistance:

Financial assistance is provided through a cost-share grant process. There are four funding areas for FY18 that all focus on water management planning. The Fund Opportunity Announcement was announced on August 3rd, 2018 and closes December 31, 2018 as funding opportunity number BOR-PN-18-F010. See here for more information.

  • Develop or Update Water Management and Conservation Plan

  • System Optimization Review

    • SORs assess the potential for water management improvements and to identify a plan of action that contains recommendations for implementing specific improvements that have the potential to enhance water management. The review can include an analysis of the entire water delivery system, district, watershed, or a portion thereof. SORs can be used to evaluate recommendations and tasks identified in water management and conservation plan (e.g., SCADA and automation to reduce specific issues such as spills, over-deliveries, and seepage).
  • Design of Water Management Improvements

    • The goal of designing improvement projects is to prepare for future implementation projects such as pipelines, canal lining, and water measurement structures. This activity provides for funding to design identified water management improvement projects upon completion of prior planning efforts (e.g., Water Management and Conservation Plan, System Optimization Review) used to identify solutions for water management issues.

    • Funding for the design of an improvement project should consider the Designing Water Management Improvements activity under the WCFSP. Further engineering and construction may be eligible for funding under WaterSMART Grants: Small-Scale Water Efficiency Projects and Water and Energy Efficiency Grants.

  • Demonstration of Conservation Technologies

    • The WCFSP provides assistance for the demonstration of new or innovative technologies or demonstration of an existing technology in a new setting. Area programs are supporting local demonstration of projects, such as improved water measurement, use of automation and telemetry control, approaches to minimizing canal and ditch seepage, on-farm irrigation management methods, and low water-usage landscape.

    • The goal of demonstration projects are to increase technical understanding of unfamiliar water management and conservation principles and practices that have not been previously used locally. The demonstration activity should not only “publicly” demonstrate a new or unfamiliar practice; it should contain a process for informing interested individuals and organizations about the outcome of the demonstration.


The program is administered locally by regional Bureau of Reclamation offices. Find currently available grants at using the CFDA code 15.530.

Updated March 22, 2024

Image Credit: Tatiana Rodriguez

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