The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is looking for proposals from academic institutions, water and wastewater utilities and industry representatives on ways to address the country's desalination and water purification needs. Proposals that are in line with the Bureau's research priorities will be offered funding to develop their projects, it was announced.

The Bureau has selected three areas of research priorities: studies carried out at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility; development of flexible systems for treating water of different salinity levels; and studies on systems that treat agricultural return flows with higher levels of total dissolved solids and selenium.

Funding will be provided to laboratory studies taking up to 13 months, with the maximum value of each grant pegged at $150,000. Apart from lab studies, funding will also be offered to pilot scale studies that demonstrate how technology operates on a bigger scale. For pilot studies, funding of up to $200,000 per year will be offered for a maximum of two years.

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Higher education institutions participating in a project are invited to share the costs, but this is optional. For other applicants willing to participate, the Bureau of Reclamation requires that they cover 75 percent of the costs. This could be reduced to 50 percent if an increased federal contribution to the project is deemed essential for its development and implementation, the Bureau explained.