Emergency and Imminent Community Water Assistance Grant Program

The Emergency and Imminent Community Water Assistance Grants program is designed to assist residents of rural areas that have experienced a significant decline in quantity or quality of water as a result of an emergency, or in which such a decline is considered imminent, to obtain or maintain adequate quantities of water that meets the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA).

Who is eligible to apply?
   Eligible organizations include:

  • Community based non-profit corporations
  • Public bodies, such as municipalities, counties, and special purpose districts
  • Federally recognized Native American Tribes

Applicants must demonstrate that they have experienced a significant decline in quantity or quality of water, as the result of an emergency, within two years of the date of application or that a significant decline in quantity or quality of water is likely to occur within one year of the date of the application. The following definitions apply:

  • An emergency is defined as an occurrence of an incident such as, but not limited to, a drought; earthquake; flood; tornado; hurricane; disease outbreak; or chemical spill, leakage, or seepage.
  • A significant decline in quality of potable water occurs when the present community source or delivery system does not meet, as a result of an emergency, the current SDWA requirements. For a private source or delivery system a significant decline in quality occurs when the water is no longer potable as a result of an emergency. The term significant decline in quality may also include a situation where a significant decline is likely to occur within one year from the date of the filing of an application.
  • A significant decline in the quantity is caused by a disruption of the potable water supply by an emergency. The disruption in quantity of water prevents the present source or delivery system from supplying potable water needs to rural residents. This would not include a decline in excess water capacity. The term significant decline in quantity may also include a situation where a significant decline is likely to occur within one year from the date of the filing of an application.

Projects must serve a rural area (incorporated area with population of 10,000 or less, or unincorporated area of any population).

How can funds be used?
   Funds can be used for:

  • Waterline extensions from existing systems
  • Construction of new waterlines, wells, reservoirs, transmission lines, treatment plants, and other sources of water
  • Repairs or significant maintenance to an existing system
  • Equipment replacement
  • Connection and/or tap fees
  • Project expenses, such as legal, engineering, architectural, and environmental fees

How much assistance can our group apply for?

  • Grants funds can be used to cover 100% of eligible project costs, with a maximum of:
    • $500,000 for projects that will alleviate a significant decline in quantity or quality of water, or that will attempt to avoid a significant decline.
    • $150,000 for repairs, partial replacement, or significant maintenance on an established system that will remedy an acute shortage or significant decline in the quality or quantity of potable water, or will remedy an anticipated acute shortage or significant decline.
  • Grant funds are further limited to the amount needed to result in reasonable user costs for those communities whose median household income is equal to or below the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income.

When can we apply for assistance?

  • Applications are accepted year round.

How will our application be evaluated?

  • Population of the area served
  • Income of the area served
  • Source of water that will be corrected by the proposed project
  • Type of emergency (existing/imminent)

How do we apply?

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their local Rural Development Office to discuss potential projects.
  • Rural Development Application materials will be available online in the near future.