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Program Background

In 2006, the “International Decade of Fresh Water​” was proclaimed by the United Nations to raise awareness about global water issues. To underscore the importance of water quality and conservation issues, Metropolitan partnered with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation – U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Friends of the United  Nations, Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County and Water For People to create a grant competition for local colleges and universities that would promote new water conservation technologies and policies or communications programs. The Forum also helps to generate student interest in engineering, environmental science and related careers in the water industry, promoting economic and workforce development in Southern California. 

Project Overview

Grants of $10,000 are awarded for research and development on the implementation of water-use efficiency technology, policy research and communication strategies that can be cost-effectively implemented in Southern California and internationally, including developing nations.
In accordance with the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, "…proposals should improve efficient use of water resources…while preserving or restoring ecological integrity, with human domestic or industrial and agricultural needs."

College teams must provide the following:

  • Design a project, rendering or prototype with a local or global focus of either:
    • An applied research concept (i.e., local watersheds);
    • An efficient water-use technology or process; or
    • A communications strategy.
  • Develop a business plan for implementation that includes: 
    • A budget
    • Timeline
    • An environmental, financial, societal and public policy implementation of the proposed concept, technology or process
    • An estimate of project benefits  
  • Complete a final report that provides:
    • A summary of research and outcomes
    • Qualitative and quantitative benefits
    • Evidence that the project could become fully sustainable


This is an inter-disciplinary project. Student teams from the following academic disciplines or Institutes for Water Resources are eligible to apply:



Civil Engineering


Environmental Science



International Studies

Landscape Irrigation Science

Political Science

Public Administration

Urban Planning

Past Recipients

World Water Forum