Recognizing the Nation's Best WRRA §104(b) Research, Education, and Outreach Projects

The annual NIWR IMPACT Awards recognize the nation’s best federal Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) §104(b)-funded research, education, and outreach projects, which brings attention to both the work that Water Resources Research Institutes sponsor and the outstanding faculty who contribute to our success.

Winning and runner-up IMPACT awards are given at the annual UCOWR meeting held each summer for projects that were completed during the previous three years. For example, IMPACT awards issued at the 2012 meeting would be for projects that were completed during 2009-2011 project years.

Award Criteria

The WRRA Amendments signed into law on January 11, 2007, require that Institutes conduct activities that lead to improvements in the nation’s water supply. Based on this statutory requirement, the awards are given to 104(b) projects judged by the NIWR Board of Directors to produce the greatest potential impact on water supply enhancement. Water supply enhancement is defined as improvement to water quantity, water quality, or water reliability via increase of water availability (through supply management), decrease in water use (through demand management), improvements in water technology and infrastructure (through systems management), or improvements to water management institutions (through strategic management).

Based on the WRRA amendments, three equally-weighted criteria are used to select an award winner:

  1. Magnitude: Extent of potential improvement in water supply that could be reasonably expected if the findings of the research were fully implemented.
  2. Timing: Period of time required to realize full attainment of water supply improvement.
  3. Confidence: Degree of confidence that this improvement in water supply will actually occur.