USDA Water Grants and Loans Available to Water and Wastewater Utilities
There are two main USDA programs that can support water and wastewater systems for disasters or mitigation:
- Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG)
- Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program
Also, in the past, Congress has made funds available for specific disasters. Other additional USDA programs that are targeted for special population programs could be used for disasters or mitigation; a list of these programs is provided in the table below.
Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG)
Description: Provides grant funds to rural communities at two levels:
- A maximum grant of $1,000,000 to communities with a significant decline in quantity or quality of drinking water due to an emergency
- A maximum grant of $150,000 to make emergency repairs and replacement of facilities on existing systems
Grants cover projects to obtain or maintain adequate quantities of water that meet the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. Emergencies include drought, earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, disease outbreak or chemical spill, leakage or seepage.
Eligibility: Public entities and nonprofit corporations in rural areas may be eligible. Public entities include tribes on federal and state reservations and other federally recognized tribal groups. They also include cities, towns or unincorporated areas with a population of less than 10,000 people. These cities must also have a median household income of no more than 100 percent of a state's non-metropolitan median household income.
Type and Cost Share: 100 percent grant for project costs.
Application: Applicants must show a major decline in quantity or quality of water within two years of the date of the application. Apply online at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply. Utilities should also contact their local USDA Rural Development office for assistance. Applications are accepted year-round.
Website: See EWCAG
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program
Description: Provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage to households and businesses in eligible rural areas. Funds may be used to finance the acquisition, construction or improvement of:
- Drinking water sourcing, treatment, storage and distribution
- Sewer collection, transmission, treatment and disposal
- Solid waste collection, disposal and closure
- Storm water collection, transmission and disposal
Eligibility: Public entities and nonprofit corporations in rural areas may be eligible. Public entities include tribes on federal and state reservations and other federally recognized tribal groups. They also include cities, towns or unincorporated areas with a population of less than 10,000 people. Serves populations of 10,000 or less except for the Loan Guarantee Program, which has an eligible population up to 50,000 people.
Type and Cost Share: Long-term, low-interest loans (up to 40-year payback period). If funds are available, a grant may be combined with a loan if necessary, to keep user costs reasonable.
Application: Apply online at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rd-apply Utilities should also contact their local USDA Rural Development office for assistance. Applications are accepted year-round.
Website:See Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program
Other USDA programs for special populations:
|Other USDA Programs||Description||Eligibility||Type|
|Grants for Rural and Native Alaskan Villages||Safe drinking water and waste disposal systems||Rural Alaskan village or hub with population < 10,000||Grants up to 75 percent of project|
|Revolving Funds for Financing Water and Wastewater Projects||Pre-development costs for water and wastewater treatment projects and short-term small capital improvement projects||Rural with population < 10,000, tribal lands in rural areas, and Colonias||Loans with max $100,000 up to 10 years|
|Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households||Feasibility studies to support applications for funding water projects as well as preliminary design and engineering analysis||Local, non-profit, tribes with population < 2,500 people and median household income below poverty line||Grants|
|Water & Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias||Construction of basic drinking water and waste disposal systems, including storm drainage||Low income rural local, non-profit, tribes, and Colonias with population < 10,000 people||Grants|