The Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) piloted a “Challenge Grant” program in the fall of 2012 to assist universities in holding a Let’s Talk About Water event. Six Challenge Grants of up to $3000.00 were awarded to the universities listed below to help support staging an LTAW event on their campuses. The funds were awarded on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. In addition to up to $3000.00 in matching funds, awarded applicants will receive other LTAW support services at no cost, such as film and program consultation by Project Coordinator Linda Lilienfeld, who developed this format.

Challenge Grant Applications

Applications for the 2017 round of challenge grant funding will be accepted starting September 6, 2016!

Three challenge grants of up to $3,000 each will be awarded in December 2016 to support Let’s Talk About Water (LTAW) events in 2017. These funds are awarded on a 1-to-1 matching basis; that is, you must provide $1 for each $1 CUAHSI provides with a cap of $3,000 on CUAHSI’s support. You may, of course, provide more than $3,000. Past LTAW events have cost on average between $6,000 and $8,000.  LTAW events for this round of Challenge Grant funding must take place between January 1 and November 30, 2017.

Eligibility: Student groups or university faculty are eligible to apply for a Challenge Grant, but the grant must be awarded to a U.S. university, therefore the applicant must be affiliated with a university.

In addition to the matching funds, Challenge Grant recipients will receive film and program consultation from Program Director Linda Lilienfeld, who developed the LTAW format.  Linda has been a film researcher for thirty-five years and has screened over 300 water films and designed successful LTAW events all over the world.  Whenever possible, Linda (or another CUAHSI staff member) travels to the event to provide support on site. More information about the LTAW program formula can be found in this EOS article.

Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and are evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Evidence of availability of matching funds and ability to cover complete cost of event (40%)
  • Clarity of program objectives and target audience (25%)
  • Approach for attracting the target audience (20%)
  • Potential to contribute to the legacy for the LTAW program (resource materials, regular event) (15%)

There is no preference for any particular objective or audience; however, there should be a clear rationale for how the specific program objectives you have are appropriate for your chosen target audience.

View programs from previous LTAW Challenge Grant recipients here or on the Let’s Talk About Water website. Other common questions are addressed on the LTAW FAQs.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal in December 2016. 

Want to host an LTAW event but not sure where to begin? Check out some of our Ideas and Resources for hosting an LTAW event to get you started! 


Congratulations to the winners of the Fall 2015 Challenge Grant program. 
  • Central Michigan University
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • Utah State University

A complete list of Challenge Grant Awardees can be viewed at:

Congratulations to the winners of the Spring 2015 Challenge Grant program, who will host LTAW events in the Fall of 2015:

CUAHSI and the Johnson Family Foundation received the largest number of Challenge Grant applications in 2014—the third year of the program— with proposals for many high-caliber water and film events. The selection committee awarded Let’s Talk About Water Challenge Grants to the following four universities for the 2015 academic year:

Awarded University


Date of Event

The 2013 LTAW Challenge Grants for academic year 2014 . . .

University of Kentucky
Event Announcement | event poster
Film: Last Call at the Oasis [view info]
  September 15, 2014
Michigan Tech
Event Announcement [view poster]
Film: Gasland [view info]
  March 26, 2014

The 2012 LTAW Challenge Grants for academic year 2013 . . .

California State University, Chico
This Way to Sustainability Conference | LTAW Program
Film: A Drop of Life [IMDb link]
William Loker March 7-9, 2013
University of Saskatchewan
Event Announcement [view flyer]
Film: Last Call at the Oasis [view info]
Anna Coles April 18, 2013
University of Idaho-Coeur d’Alene Center
Injury, Regulation, or Freedom [view flyer]
Film: The Unforeseen [view trailer | IMDb link]
Mark Solomon April 22, 2013
Texas A&M University
Water Daze / LTAW Event [view flyer]
Article in The Drop newsletter
Film: Last Call at the Oasis [IMDb link]
Prakash Khedun April 24, 2013
Syracuse University
Event Announcement
David Chandler September 20, 2013
Rutgers University
Event Announcement | View flyer | Register
Film: Chasing Ice [view info | IMDb link]
Asa Rennermalm October 23, 2013