Multiple Funding Options
The Water Research Foundation’s comprehensive One Water research approach includes five research programs designed to provide flexible funding and partnership opportunities. Learn more about these programs.
Respond to an RFP
Each Request for Proposal (RFP) outlines specific application requirements; submit your proposal following the guidance included in the RFP. Be sure to note deadlines as proposals submitted after the deadline will not be accepted.
Note: you will receive a confirmation email after you submit your proposal. Check your spam folder if it is not received. Retain that confirmation email as it contains a link back to your proposal.
Respond to a Call for Pre-proposals
Making the Case for Climate‐Resilient Water Infrastructure and Supporting Strategies
- To develop water sector‐specific guidance, including a decision-support tool on how to make a case for investments in climate‐resilient stormwater, wastewater, and drinking water infrastructure, considering both structural approaches (i.e., physical assets) and non‐structural approaches (e.g., codes and standards).
- To advance quantitative approaches to utility decision-making about climate resilient capital projects, as well as other approaches within the web of complex challenges facing water utilities today.
- To enhance stakeholder engagement and education by incorporating a collaborative component in the decision-support tool, enabling utilities to engage community members, utility staff, and peer agencies around climate-resilient water investments.
Enhancing Collection Systems Integrity with Application of Emerging Assessment and Renewal Methods
This project will identify state‐of‐the‐art emerging condition assessment methods and innovative renewal technologies. It will focus on advanced techniques from physics-based models and analytical techniques to Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) technologies with a specific focus on collection systems integrity.
Quantifying the Performance of Source Water Protection Measures to Improve Utilities' Decision Making
- To advance source water protection and watershed-level point and non-point source pollution prevention, interception, and remediation strategies and to quantify the costs and benefits by focusing on high-priority situations.
- To identify and prioritize performance measures for both point and non-point source pollution that need to be applied to different protection activities to assess the economic value, return on investment, value of ecosystem services, as well as operational, water quality and quantity, and ecological outcomes.
- To develop a framework for measurement of these performance metrics at local, regional, and watershed scales.
- To provide clear and robust guidance to help utilities (a) identify targeted areas for source water protection that are relevant to their core business, (b) implement meaningful strategies and options based on current understanding of performance, and (c) prioritize meaningful performance measurement of interventions at the watershed scale.
Approaches to Build Strong Partnerships and Solidify Successful Interagency Reuse Projects
- Define successful interagency water reuse projects and identify the characteristics of project partnerships that strengthen reuse project planning and foster successful collaboration.
- Develop guidance for successful interagency collaboration and a toolkit of resources for multi-agency projects including, but not limited to:
- Example legal agreements (e.g., contracts, MOUs, MOAs, etc.) successfully used to support collaboration on planning, design, construction, and operation of reuse projects.
- Funding mechanisms, procurement models, and financing structures that most benefit multi‐agency projects.
- Regulatory approaches most suitable for partnership projects and an outline for regulatory streamlining.
- Negotiation guidance that includes the appropriate discussion points and questions that can bolster the development of successful agreements.
- Coordinated public and stakeholder outreach strategies to effectively communicate the goals and benefits of the partnership in addition to the reuse project.
Regionalized or Integrated Solutions for Brine Management and Recovery
- Research various approaches for regionalized or integrated brine management (e.g., shared infrastructure, centralized treatment, integrated methods to reduce brine volume, and recovery of marketable high value products).
- Identify and provide guidance for assessing the key factors related to implementation of regional or integrated brine management solutions, evaluating opportunities based on current and future one water scenarios (including municipal, agricultural, commercial, co-produced water, and industrial sector needs).
- Example key factors could include but are not limited to identifying sources and qualities of brine, blended quality, point of disposal, treatment requirements, volumetric goals or limitations, and high-level cost comparisons.
- Develop regionalized or integrated brine management planning guidance.
Guidance for Algaecide Application in Source Waters
The objective of the project is to develop a guidance document that will help utilities optimize their algaecide application and develop monitoring protocols.
Validation of an Integrated Framework of Wastewater and Stormwater Treatment Options of CECs
- Validate cost effective strategies for the management and control of constituents of emerging concern (CECs) in all water sources.
- Provide benefit/cost guidance to utilities in determining viable treatment options at the water resource recovery facility (WRRF) or the source.
- Address current research gaps in the One Water framework such as analytical techniques and screening tools, characterization and predictive modeling, and potential health impacts.
Integrating Nature-based Solutions and Gray Infrastructure to Optimize Treatment Performance
- Summarize and advance the state of practice of integrating nature-based solutions with conventional/gray infrastructure treatment trains across different water matrices.
- Assess water quality performance capabilities of mixed treatment trains using existing datasets, published literature values, and/or advanced tools such as simulation models.
- Identify socio-technical opportunities and barriers for better integration, and evaluate proposed solutions for energy, chemical, and/or other operation and maintenance cost savings.
- Perform a triple bottom line (or similar) analysis to holistically evaluate the tradeoffs of mixed treatment trains vs. full conventional/gray or full nature-based.
Advancing Anoxic Phosphorus Uptake for Highly Efficient Simultaneous Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal
- Advance the knowledge of phosphorus (P) removal through anoxic P uptake in biological nutrient removal (BNR); this includes investigating the microbial ecology and approaches for identification of as well as the role of denitrifying polyphosphate accumulating organisms (dPAOs), denitrifying glycogen accumulating organisms (dGAOs), non-canonical PAO, and other denitrifiers that offer advantages in effective anoxic phosphorus uptake and removal with various carbon pools.
- Building on research-to-date, advance the knowledge of dPAO selection and enhancing dPAO activity in practice at pilot- and full-scale.
- Develop design and operational guidelines and control strategies focused on effective full-scale implementation of anoxic P uptake for simultaneous nitrogen (N) and P removal at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs).
Evaluation and Demonstration of Biotechnological Tools and Methods for Improving Biofiltration Operation and Optimization
This project aims to enhance our understanding of how microbial community structure, function, and dynamics contribute to biofiltration performance and process optimization. With this goal in mind, the specific objectives are:
- To evaluate effects of microbial community structure, function, and population dynamics on biofilter operation and optimization using biotechnological tools and methods.
- To assess usefulness, applicability, implementability, and cost-effectiveness of the tools and methods.
- To recommend the most suitable tools and methods for biofiltration optimization for water utilities.
- To develop a user-friendly utility guidance document to facilitate informed decision-making for effective biofilter operation and optimization.
Residential End Uses of Water, Version 3: A Single-Family and Multi-Family Study
- Evaluate changes in disaggregated water uses in single-family households and a baseline for multi-family households by collecting current data from sites that statistically represent their service areas and analyzing the data to identify variations in water used by each fixture or appliance. Outdoor analysis should be limited (e.g., focus on analyzing outdoor usage with lot size and pervious areas).
- Evaluate differences and similarities between single-family and multi-family households (e.g., limited sub-categories, such as condos, townhomes, and apartments).
- Compare results from this study with past end-use studies, such as WRF projects DeOreo et al. 2016 and Mayer et al. 1999, to develop water use trends over time.
- At a high level, discuss how housing class composition has changed over the last 15 years in the study area.
Ozone Nanobubbles (NBs) Technologies for Water Treatment
The overall objective of this project is to assess and evaluate the potential application of ozone nanobubbles (NBs) for water treatment. The specific objectives of this study are:
- Examine the behavior and performance of ozone NBs with the preferred ozone dissolution technique
- Perform comparative side-by-side studies between ozone NBs and conventional ozone application methods (e.g., fine bubble diffusion, side stream injection, static mixers, etc.)
- Assess how different water quality parameters, such as pH, temperature, and water composition, influence the effectiveness of ozone NBs for removal of various contaminants (e.g., physical, chemical, microbial)
- Assess the potential for bromate formation during ozonation using NBs
- Investigate the scalability and cost-effectiveness of ozone NBs technology as compared to conventional ozone dissolution techniques
Advancing the Disinfection of Wet Weather-Driven Sewer Overflows: Best Practices and Case Studies
- To improve receiving water quality by fostering widespread adoption of disinfection practices and technologies, when needed, at strategic locations throughout sewersheds and at potential peak wet‐weather flow management points within water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) and stormwater treatment systems.
- To identify cost‐effective solutions and develop a user-friendly guidance document to add to a utility’s decision toolbox for combined sewer overflow (CSO) and sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) mitigation strategies.
Case Studies for Successful Watershed and Sewershed Monitoring and Decision Making
Provide a comprehensive/robust compendium of case studies on management, economic, policy, and regulatory approaches showcasing an understanding of methods (including artificial intelligence [AI]), parameters, and drivers that impact ecosystem health at the watershed and sewershed scale.
Advancing Nature-Based Solutions by Assessing Long‐Term Performance of Natural and Engineered Media
This project will help utilities better understand the optimum media or engineered media combinations needed to remove particular constituents of concern (CECs) (e.g., per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), pharmaceuticals, etc.), as well as more common water quality measures such as nutrients and metals, using nature-based solutions (NbS) across different water matrices. Results from this work can be used to inform the operation and maintenance of nature-based solutions and explore the possibility of upscaling their performance to a larger scale (e.g., sub-watershed level, sewershed). Project objectives include the following:
- Perform a state-of-the-practice review of types of natural and engineered media most frequently used in nature-based retention, detention, and infiltration practices across different water matrices. One of the pollutants of focus in this study will be PFAS.
- Perform lab-scale and pilot-scale tests while considering future full-scale tests on most common media using different water matrices and quantify performance over time.
- Evaluate potential need for media extraction and disposal as well as risks and costs associated with media extraction and disposal after media has reached useful life.
- Holistically compare tradeoffs of different media types across different water matrices.
Optimizing Sensor Networks and Advanced Sensing Techniques for Enhanced Collection Systems Management
- To advance the optimization of the layout of sensor networks and sensing techniques in collection systems to enhance One Water management.
- To improve data analytics, forecasting, modeling, and intelligent platform/dashboard environments to help with operations for a range of flow conditions and control schemes, preventive and in‐time maintenance of collection systems, and optimization of capital improvement programs.
Technology and Innovation for Assessing Operability and Full-Closure of High-Consequence Valves
This project will evaluate existing maintenance approaches for high-consequence valves, provide guidance on the evaluation of the approaches for valve assessment and maintenance (including the application of artificial intelligence (AI)), and inform an exploration of new maintenance approaches. Lastly, this project will provide useful communications materials and statistics to convey the importance of valves in a resilient distribution system, as well as valve rebuild methods for larger, more expensive valves.
Unlocking the Advantages of Internally Stored Carbon for Nutrient Removal
- Identify knowledge gaps and advance fundamental scientific knowledge related to biological nutrient removal (BNR) driven by internally stored carbon
- Identify and quantify benefits of achieving BNR via internally stored carbon, including comparisons of performance in systems with enrichment of carbon-storing biomass versus those without carbon-storing biomass enrichment
- Synthesize findings into an application guidance document for design and operations
Integrating Energy Data Into Water Utility Operations: Energy Management Challenges and Best Practices
Establish a proposed universal approach for identifying/developing strategies and best practices with supporting system components involved in optimizing utility operations using energy data (i.e., power monitors, sensors, sensor data, communications, centralized data storage and management, data analytics, process decision modeling and controls, correlation of data sets, data collection parameters, administrative ownership, and management, etc.).
Advancing the Understanding of Nitrous Oxide Emissions Through Enhanced Whole-Plant Monitoring and Quantification
- Provide accurate whole-plant N2O emissions estimates for several water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) that employ commonly used treatment processes, by employing continuous online monitoring for a minimum one-year period.
- Develop guidance on process conditions that lead to high N2O formation risk at the facilities, by monitoring other process conditions alongside N2O production.
Maximizing the Value of Natural Assets and Green Infrastructure at the Watershed Scale
- Outline the benefits of natural asset management system and solutions for utilities and water resource managers
- Incorporate assessment metrics into natural assets, which will provide a more complete accounting framework that can be scaled up to watershed and community levels, including initial capital investment and long‐term impacts
- Enhance accounting and monetization framework for natural assets and green infrastructure so that an effective approach to natural asset management has the confidence of utilities, government, funders, and financial/economic managers and regulators
- Expand from existing case studies illustrating where and how natural asset management systems have been implemented in the water sector, outlining the challenges faced, solutions found, and benefits realized
Developing a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Library for Unit Processes by Water Utilities and Decentralized Systems
- Develop a standardized approach for the water sector to determine baseline greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions according to common unit processes and evaluate the impact of process/operational changes to their systems
- Establish a “GHG Emissions Library” with a basic framework in place that allows future updates as GHG emissions data from unit processes become more available