Established by the U.S. Congress with passage of the Water Resources Research Act in 1964, the water resources research institute program provides support for one institute at the land grant university in each state, plus 3 territories and the District of Columbia. Congress reauthorized the Act in 1984 with amendments and, most recently, in 2006, in PL 109-471. The Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona is the designated Water Resources Research Institute for the State of Arizona.
The 2006 law listed the following as national water research priorities:
(1) Aspects of the hydrologic cycle;
(2) Supply and demand for water;
(3) Demineralization of saline and other impaired waters;
(4) Conservation and best use of available supplies of water and methods of increasing such supplies;
(5) Water reuse;
(6) Depletion, contamination, and degradation of groundwater supplies;
(7) Improvements in the productivity of water when used for agricultural, municipal, and commercial purposes;
(8) The economic, legal, engineering, social, recreational, biological, geographic, ecological, and other aspects of water quality and quantity problems;
(9) Scientific information dissemination activities, including identifying, assembling, and interpreting the results of scientific and engineering research on water resources problems; and
(10) Providing means for improved communication of research results, having due regard for the varying conditions and needs for the respective States and regions.
The Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) provides grants for research projects under the Water Resources Research Act, Section 104(b). The program’s major goals are to foster research on water and related issues of importance to the state and region and to encourage the entry of students and young scientists into the field of water resources.
Proposals are solicited annually in the fall. Faculty members and students at any of Arizona’s three state universities may submit proposals. The project year runs from March 1 through the end of February. The typical award is $10,000.
The National Competitive Grants Program - 104(g) provides grants of up to $250,000 and up to 3 years for research on water problems and issues of a regional or interstate nature beyond those of concern only to a single state. 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. In Arizona, this is the WRRC.