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U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Grant Program

EPA funds and administers the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program (BWIP) for the region 100 kilometers (62 miles) north to 100 kilometers south of the U.S. -Mexico border. Infrastructure project development, design and construction within the region is implemented via cooperative agreements (grants) to the North American Development Bank (NADB) and Mexico’s CONAGUA jointly invests in those projects in the south. 

Several waterbodies in the border region—including the Tijuana, New and San Pedro rivers—either originate in or run through Mexico and flow northward into the United States. Another river, the Rio Grande, forms part of the border between the United States and Mexico. Lawmakers understood that investment was needed to protect the country’s shared rivers by addressing inadequate wastewater infrastructure and that human health in the region was suffering from the lack of access to proper water and wastewater service. Transboundary water migration and lack of clean drinking water affect both the environment and the health of people on each side of the border. As a result, the BWIP was created in the 1990s as a bi-national effort to provide border communities with safe drinking water and sanitation.

Water infrastructure investments have paid off. From the program’s inception through FY 2017, the program has developed the capacity to treat approximately 280 million gallons per day of raw wastewater in the border area, improving the quality of surface and groundwater along the border. Working closely with U.S. and Mexican federal, state, and local partners, the program has provided access to safe drinking water to 70,000 homes and wastewater collection and treatment services to 673,000 homes for the first time.

Projects Eligible to Receive Funding

Eligible projects must be located within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Projects, both in the United States and in Mexico, must address existing conditions that will have a positive effect on health and environment in the United States. Projects in Mexico must also have the support of appropriate federal and state agencies, including the Comisión Nacional de Agua (CONAGUA) (also known as the Mexican National Water Commission) and the respective state water utility. If a project sponsor is not in compliance with an existing Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) grant agreement or Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP) technical assistance agreement, the project sponsor will be ineligible for future BEIF/PDAP funding until these issues are resolved.

How to Apply for Funding

When funding becomes available, EPA Region 6 (serving Texas and New Mexico) and Region 9 (serving Arizona and California) issue a solicitation that identifies the timeframe for submitting an application, documents that need to accompany the application, ranking criteria, and information on the funding process. For more information, contact the EPA managers of the U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program.

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