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Propose your solution to solve inland water supply challenges by finding ways to make desalination plants more efficient and produce less concentrate.

Please read all of the submission requirements before completing each section. All submissions must be in English. Portions of your submission, including the Solution Title, Solution Description, Technical Abstract, and Video, may be published on this website; the remainder of your submission will only be viewed by prize administrators and reviewers.

Be sure to review your submission as it will appear after it’s been submitted (link at the bottom of the page) and confirm your changes have been saved. When you have completed all of the requirements, a message will be displayed on the screen. At that point, you can submit. Once you have submitted, you will no longer be able to make changes and the status on your dashboard will confirm submission (you will not receive an automated email confirmation).

You must submit no later than Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at 5:00 PM Mountain.


Offer a brief and compelling overview of your novel solution. Avoid using jargon, abbreviations, or language that a layperson may not understand.

Provide a title for your solution. Choose a name that easily identifies your solution and distinguishes it from any other solution.

SOLUTION DESCRIPTION (25 words) Provide a one sentence description of your solution.

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (100 words) Provide a summary of the solution you are proposing to demonstrate that reduces the volume of concentrate and better manages the residuals from inland desalination plants. Your Technical Abstract should be a stand-alone statement of how your solution addresses the problem. It should not require any other context to clearly explain what you propose to accomplish. Focus on delivering a compelling overview so that the Evaluation Panel members assigned to score your submission will want to read more.

Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) are a type of measurement system used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. Provide the estimated technology readiness level for the technology behind your solution. We anticipate that most of the solutions submitted will be at TRL 1, TRL 2, or TRL 3.

  • TRL 1 –Basic principles observed and reported. Lowest level of technology readiness. Scientific research begins to be translated into applied research and development. Examples might include paper studies of a technology’s basic properties.
  • TRL 2 –Technology concept and/or application formulated. Invention begins. Once basic principles are observed, practical applications can be invented. The application is speculative and there is no proof or detailed analysis to support the assumption. Examples are still limited to paper'studies.
  • TRL 3 –Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof-of-concept. Active research and development is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.
  • TRL 4 –Component and/or breadboard validation in laboratory environment. Basic technological components are integrated to establish that the pieces will work together. This is relatively "low fidelity" compared to the eventual system. Examples include integration of "ad hoc" hardware in a laboratory.
  • TRL 5 –Component and/or breadboard validation in relevant environment. Fidelity of breadboard technology increases significantly. The basic technological components are integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so that the technology can be tested in a simulated environment. Examples include "high fidelity" laboratory integration of components.
  • TRL 6 –System/subsystem model or prototype demonstration in a relevant environment. Representative model or prototype system, which is well beyond the breadboard tested for TRL5, is tested in a relevant environment. Represents a major step up in a technology's demonstrated readiness. Examples include testing a prototype in a high-fidelity laboratory environment or in simulated operational environment.
  • TRL 7 –System prototype demonstration in an operational environment. Prototype near or at planned operational system. Represents a major step up from TRL 6,requiring the demonstration of an actual system prototype in an operational environment with representatives of the intended user organization(s). Examples include testing the prototype in structured or actual field use.
  • TRL 8 –Actual system completed and operationally qualified through test and demonstration. Technology has been proven to work in its final form and underexpected operational conditions. In almost all cases, this TRL represents the end of true system development. Examples include developmental test and evaluation of the system in its intended or pre-production configuration to determine if it meets design specifications and operational suitability.
  • TRL 9 –Actual system proven through successful mission operations. Actual application of the technology in its production configuration and under mission conditions, such as those encountered in operational test and evaluation. In almost all cases, this is the end of the last "bug fixing" aspects of true system development. Examples include using the system by operational users under operational mission conditions. 

Describe why you selected the Technology Readiness Level in the previous section. Provide supporting statements that back-up your selection. What work has been done up to now on this technology? What further research, development, and testing is needed before the technology is ready for commercialization and implementation at full scale.


The following information is required to capture a basic understanding of the leadership, structure, vision, and capabilities of the people working on this solution. Individuals, teams of individuals, and organizations may submit a proposed solution. While government agencies cannot register or submit, individuals affiliated with government agencies can be recognized as part of a team so long as no governmental resources are used to develop the submission or perform actual work leading to prototype.

CAPABILITIES (250 words) Describe the skills, capacity, and experience of you or your team to deliver the proposed solution. Be sure to include core competencies and how they apply to your solution, any relevant past projects or experience, and any other additional details that support your ability to deliver a prototype of your solution.


Here is your opportunity to provide the details of your proposed solution for More Water Less Concentrate. For the purposes of this competition, you may assume that the goal for this competition is to reduce the amount of liquid waste (concentrate) from the desalination process.  Solutions that produce additional, usable water from the concentrate will be viewed more favorably. All solutions must be applicable to municipal scale desalination plants. Be sure to emphasize how your proposed solution aligns with the four criteria that will be used to assess each valid submission (see Scoring Rubric).

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW (750 words) Describe the solution that you plan to prototype and demonstrate. How does it meet the goals of More Water Less Concentrate to reduce the volume of concentrate and better manage the residuals from inland desalination plants? Focus on how your solution will meet the Technical Guidelines that the Bureau of Reclamation has identified. If you plan to improve upon an existing product or technology, describe the baseline and specific changes you intend to make. If you are creating a new solution, provide an explanation for that decision and a summary of the principles of operation.

NOTE: We are looking for effective and affordable solutions that both increase the amount of usable water and decrease the amount of concentrate requiring disposal. Solutions that describe only methods for concentrate disposal, such as discharge (ocean, surface water, sewer, etc.), deep well injection, and evaporation ponds, that do not result in additional usable water supplies are not eligible to submit.

The responses to this section should relate to your solution in the context of implementation at a full-scale, real-world application. Section D: Your Prototype Construction Plan and Budget will ask you about your prototype.

EFFECTIVENESS (300 words) Describe the effectiveness of your solution. How does it compare with current industry methods? What volume of usable water will your solution produce? How much does it reduce the volume of concentrate? Describe how you know your solution will work.

SCALABILITY (200) Your solution should be applicable to municipal scale inland desalination plants. These plants vary widely in location and size. Is your solution technically viable at full-scale? How would your solution address the variation in these facilities? Will it be easy to operate at full-scale?

ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS (200 words) When inland communities are evaluating potential sources for new water supplies, desalination is often overlooked or not considered due to its perceived high cost. A major cost factor is the additional handling, disposal, and/or treatment required to manage concentrate streams. How will your solution address these cost considerations? Describe how you will keep costs down without compromising the effectiveness of your solution.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT AND CONSIDERATIONS (200 words) Your solution should not create hazardous waste, require excessive chemical usage, or otherwise result in a prohibitive environmental impact. How will your solution minimize the impact on the environment and effectively manage the residuals? How energy efficient is your solution? Describe the method of disposal required for the final solids and liquid residuals produced by your solution. What is the anticipated footprint? What are its power requirements? What chemicals will be used? Does your solution have geographical or climate limitations?

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (150 words) Explain who owns the intellectual property of your proposed solution. If you are building on existing or off-the-shelf product or technology, detail the permissions you have to use that product or technology. If you are part of a team, indicate which team members own the intellectual property.

VISUAL REPRESENTATION Please upload a PDF that contains drawings, illustrations, schematics, or other visual representations of your solution. If available, a process flow diagram showing system inputs, outputs, and flows between major process components can help the Evaluation Panel to better understand your proposed approach. You must upload a single PDF file that does not exceed 10MB. The PDF should not simply be a bullet-point summary of your solution. While the PDF may contain some additional text explaining your solution, it should not be used as a way to circumvent word counts on this submission. If it does, your submission will be disqualified.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS (100 words) If your solution does not meet some of the requirements in the Technical Guidelines, please describe why you’ve made the choices you did in proposing your solution. This is also your opportunity to describe any outstanding issues that you could not explain in any other sections. What makes your solution unique?


If your team is named a Finalist, you will have eleven months to build your prototype. Use this section to describe your plan for successfully building a prototype in that timeframe.

PROJECT MILESTONES (300 words) In chronological order, describe the milestones and timeline needed to build your prototype in eleven months. If you have an existing product or technology that you are augmenting, describe the initial state as well as the milestones.

BUDGET NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION (300 words) Please offer a general overview for how you would use the awards if you are named as a Finalist. This Budget Narrative should complement your project plan.


You are required to submit a video that captures your solution and describes why it should be funded. The video is an opportunity to showcase your passion and to pitch your story in a succinct format. We want you to share your vision with the reviewers in a way that is different from the written solution format. This DOES NOT need to be a professionally produced video; video shot on a smartphone is acceptable. Additionally, please take care to protect any intellectual property associated with your solution.

In order to complete this part of your submission, your team will upload a short digital film using YouTube. Set the Privacy Settings on your video to Public or Unlisted – do not set them to Private.

Your video may be extracted from your submission and made available to the public. Appeal to a broad audience. Video submissions should follow these guidelines or else it will render the submission ineligible:

  • 90 seconds in length.
  • Your pitch must be in English, or if in another language, subtitled in English.
  • Your video must be captioned. See instructions here on how to caption YouTube videos.
  • Your video should not contain any images of identifiable children (under age 18) without express parental consent.

Here are general suggestions for delivering a high-quality video pitch:

  • Introduce yourself and your organization(s) and/or team.
  • Explain your solution, including what is unique about it.
  • Demonstrate how your solution will work, perhaps through an animated presentation slide, a demonstration of the concept, or other way in which you can convey the benefits of your solution.
  • Do not simply read a slide desk; instead, try to connect with your audience—the reviewers.


If you are named as a Finalist and awarded $115,000, please note the following:

  • The disbursement of the prize purse will be in three parts:
  • ~ $25,000 upon designation as a Finalist
  • ~ $65,000 upon submission of a Schematic diagram of technology with detailed mass and energy balances
  • ~ $25,000 upon submission of a progress report, including a proof of concept
  • You or your team will build a functioning prototype according to your submission within an eleven-month period.
  • You will be asked to provide proof of identity.
  • You will be asked to sign an Agreement for Finalists as well as other agreements related to the use of the demonstration event facilities.
  • Additional details about the demonstration event will be provided prior to the start of the prototyping period.
  • Up to three team members for each Finalist should plan to travel to Reclamation’s Yuma Desalting Plant, to meet with the Prize Competition Selection Panel and demonstrate the merits and use of the prototype. This meeting is currently scheduled for the week of June 6, 2022.
  • Each team must arrange shipping or hand-carry their prototype to and from the demonstration test. Prototypes should be packaged in such a way that proprietary design details are obscured because competing teams may be able to see your solution during the testing.
  • Initial check-in and inspection of the prototypes will take place before testing begins.
  • Testing will last for up to three days and will allow for limited time mid-stream to resolve any technical issues, as necessary.
  • The Selection Committee will be present during the demonstration.