104(g) National Competitive Grants

In accordance with the Water Resources Research Act, Section 104(g) the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources issues an annual call for research proposals. The National Competitive Grants Program - 104(g) was established to support research on water problems and issues of a regional or interstate nature beyond those of concern only to a single state and which relate to specific program priorities identified jointly by the USGS and the institutes.

On March 9, 2023, a group of NIWR Member Water Centers and Institutes organized an informational webinar on the 104(g) grant program. Here are the recording and slides from this presentation.

Objectives of this program include the following:

  • Promote collaboration between the USGS and university scientists in research on significant national and regional water resources issues;
  • Promote the dissemination and application of the results of the research funded under this program; and
  • Assist in the training of scientists in relevant water resource fields. Proposals that include a strong educational component (student support) are encouraged, as are proposals from faculty beginning their careers.

104(g) grant funding is allocated into two categories (relevent to Arizona), each with its own priorities and RFP:

104(g) General

Ongoing research needs include improving and enhancing the nation’s water supply and availability, as well as promoting the exploration of new ideas that address or expand our understanding of water problems. Proposals are sought on the following specific areas of inquiry; levels of priority are not assigned, and the order of listing does not indicate the level of priority:

National-scale evaluation of water budget: Retrospective or predictive analyses using hydroclimate-forcing data sets, with emphasis on CONUS404, which was developed in a USGS- NCAR collaboration. Additional guidance includes

  • Emphasis on prediction of water-budget components through a variety of interpretive approaches
  • Incorporation of how uncertainty in hydroclimate-forcing propagates to water budget components
  • Consideration of both retrospective and projected conditions.

Rasmussen, R.M., Liu, C., Ikeda, K., Chen, F., Kim, J., Schneider, T., Gochis, D., Dugger, A., and Viger, R., 2023, Four-kilometer long-term regional hydroclimate reanalysis over the conterminous United States (CONUS), 1979-2020: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9PHPK4F.

Socieoeconomics: Integrate ongoing USGS research and data collection in order to assess socioeconomic and ecological vulnerability to compounding extreme events and develop adaptation measures. This proposed project should undertake new research (e.g., Water Use and Social and Economic Drivers Program) to understand the vulnerability of urban (e.g., trans-basin diversions), agricultural (e.g., reservoir management), and ecological (e.g., endangered species) water-use sectors to drought and compounding hazards such as wildfire. Additional guidance includes:

  • Provide a quantifiable portfolio of risk for water-use sectors (including ecological and socio-economic)
  • Develop climate futures and planning scenarios for relevant institutions: management, communities, other institutions

104(g) Per- and Poly-flouroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

The challenges and opportunities of understanding the effects of per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances on water resources are poorly understood, despite the real and growing effect of this group of man-made substances on water quality and the resultant exposure to humans, other organisms, and ecosystems. Research is needed to better understand these interactions and guide management decisions that will improve water resources at the regional or national scale.

Proposals are sought on the following specific areas of inquiry (levels of priority are not assigned, and the order of listing does not indicate the level of priority):

  • Media-specific methods: Enhanced methods for detection on specific media, with a clear indication of new or different compounds; new or different methodological approaches; lower detection levels for specific media or compounds, especially with respect to EPA health guidelines for PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) and PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonate). Media of interest include (in ranked order) (1) Tissues/plasma, (2) sediment, (3) air or interfaces, (4) water.
  • Atmospheric sources: Improved understanding of atmospheric exchange in PFAS distribution and fate. This may include methods to determine transport of PFAS to the atmosphere and to subsequent receiving waters, such as a water method that determines "new" compounds based on their likelihood to occur in the atmosphere.
  • Processes oriented at molecular level: Process-oriented research of PFAS fate, transport, and effects, with emphasis on molecular-level understanding of PFAS precursor transformation, sorption dynamics, or mechanisms of bioaccumulation and(or) biological/ecological effects.


Research funds made available through this program are awarded on a competitive basis subject to the merit of the proposal, the need for the information to be produced, and the opportunity such funds will provide for training of water resources scientists or professionals. Grant awards are subject to annual Congressional appropriations for the program.
Any investigator at an 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. The WRRC is the designated Water Resources Research Institute for the State of Arizona.
Submitting proposals to the WRRC is the first step in the process of applying for 104(g) Program grants. Proposals must be submitted by email to Program Manager Michael Seronde (seronde@arizona.edu) prior to 5:00 PM MST, Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
Proposals may be for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration and may request up to $310,000 in federal funds, $279,000 for PFAS proposals. Successful applicants must match each dollar of the federal grant with one dollar from non-federal sources.
More information on the National Competitive Grants Program – 104(g) can be found at the State Water Resources Research Act Program website.

FY2023 104(g) Program RFPs: