Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program
The United States Department of the Interior (Department), Bureau of Reclamation’s (Reclamation) Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program (Program) aims to improve the skill of water supply forecasts via enhancing snow monitoring through the deployment of emerging technologies to complement existing monitoring techniques and networks. This new program was authorized in December 2020 by P.L. 116-260, Sec. 1111, Snow Water Supply Forecasting Program Authorization Act. The program was authorized for FY 2022 - FY 2026. Reservoir operations and related water management decisions rely on estimates of current and future water availability. These estimates depend on technologies to observe basin conditions such as snowpack. In many Western basins, snowpack and subsequent snow melt runoff constitutes a significant portion of the annual water supply. Accordingly, monitoring snowpack is of great interest to water managers and water users alike. Traditionally, basin snowpack information is based on a sparse network of observing stations across large watersheds. These networks provide high quality information at station locations but extrapolating that information to an entire watershed is a challenge. This challenge, in large part, motivates the Program. As such, the NOFO invites proposals from eligible applicants that are invested in and capable of demonstrating emerging or deploying existing snow monitoring technologies and/or use of snow monitoring data to enhance water supply forecast skill. Considering this and the Act’s emphasis on partner agency coordination, strong applications will have partnerships with water management and forecasting entities to facilitate transfer of knowledge, foster use of data in forecasts, and evaluate utility of information for informing water management decisions. This supports Department of the Interior priority of addressing the drought crisis by providing water managers the best available information to inform the management of this scarce and critical resource. In Phase I, applicants submit technical proposals in the required format and length as specified in Section D.2.1. Application Format and Length as well as with the required content further detailed in Section D.2.2. Application Content. Submission to Phase I is required for Phase II consideration. Reclamation’s application review committee (ARC) will select a set of highly qualified applications from Phase I to move to Phase II of the application process. Submission to Phase I is required for Phase II consideration. If the selected applicants are not present for Phase II, their proposals are automatically disqualified from proceeding further and will be ineligible for an award. Phase II will entail a 30-minute virtual (web meeting) project/proposal “pitch” presentation to a review panel, followed by 20 minutes of question and answer with the review panel. Those selected to advance to Phase II will be notified of the presentation requirements and logistics with a minimum 4 week's notice.