Learn About the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program

The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 was signed into law by the President on June 10, 2014. Title V, Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), establishes a new financing mechanism for water and wastewater infrastructure projects to be managed by EPA Headquarters.

The WIFIA program provides low interest rate financing for the construction of water and wastewater infrastructure. Funded projects must be nationally or regionally significant. Individual projects must be reasonably anticipated to cost no less than $20 million.

WIFIA works separately from, but in coordination with, the State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs to provide subsidized financing for large dollar-value projects.

Eligible assistance recipients include corporations, partnerships, municipal entities, and SRF programs.

Eligible projects include:

  • Clean Water SRF eligible projects
  • Drinking Water SRF eligible projects
  • Projects for enhanced energy efficiency at drinking water and wastewater facilities
  • Brackish or seawater desalination project, an aquifer recharge project, water recycling project
  • Acquisition of property if it is integral to the project or will mitigate the environmental impact of a project
  • Bundled SRF projects submitted under one application by an SRF program
  • A combination of projects secured by a common security pledge

WIFIA: Introduction and Development provides background and details about the statute, eligible projects and criteria, and financial structures and examples.

In December 2014, Congress provided $2.2 million to EPA to establish the WIFIA program, including hiring qualified staff, developing guidance and application materials, and developing a credit subsidy model. When Congress appropriates funds for the program, WIFIA will begin to provide low interest rate loan financing for the construction of water and wastewater infrastructure.

In 2014, EPA hosted a series of listening sessions across the country to provide an overview of the statute, assistance options and terms, and ideas for implementing the program. Participants and EPA discussed project ideas and potential selection criteria; opportunities, challenges, and questions about implementation; and future stakeholder engagement. Listening sessions were held in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Attendees included municipal, state, and regional utility decision makers; private finance sector representatives; and other interested organizations and parties.

WIFIA is modeled on the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) of 1998, which provides federal credit for eligible transportation projects. The TIFIA credit program fills market gaps and leverages substantial private co-investment by providing supplemental and subordinate capital for transportation projects. Each dollar of federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance and support up to $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.