California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2020-21 

Key Functional Categories

Division of Financial Assistance


The State Water Board provides financial assistance through various State and federal loan and grant programs to help local agencies, businesses, and individuals meet the costs of water pollution control, development of locally available sustainable water supplies, drinking water infrastructure, and cleanup. This funding is made available for local and regional projects that can include construction of municipal sewage and water recycling facilities, groundwater and surface water treatment projects, drinking water distribution system and source capacity improvements, remediation for underground storage tank releases, watershed protection, nonpoint source pollution control, and other water protection projects. More...

More information on the FY 2020-21 target results and FY 2021-22 targets

Fiscal Year 2020-21 
Statewide Overview of
Financial Assistance Activities

UST Cleanup fund Claims Closed: 417
UST Cleanup Fund Reimbursements: $138,934,322
Clean Water State Revolving Funded Projects: 30 
Clean Water State Revolving Funds Allocated: $326,613,103
Drinking Water Projects Funded: 22 
Drinking Water State Revolving Funds Allocated: $259,161,836

Graph Data Reported

Fund - How does financial assistance protect water quality?

The ongoing activities of pollution prevention and cleanup occur at some expense to the regulated community and the State. These activities can include the construction of treatment facilities, or the implementation of measures, to address or avoid water quality problems.

Types of Funded Projects
  • Construction of municipal sewage facilities/wastewater treatment plants
  • Construction of water recycling facilities
  • Remediation for underground storage tank releases
  • Watershed protection projects
  • Nonpoint source pollution control projects
  • Clean beaches
  • Agricultural discharge monitoring and reduction
  • Stormwater control
  • Repair and replacement of underground storage tanks
  • Watershed management
  • Other water protection projects

The State Water Board's financial assistance programs obtain revenue from various sources. The State has made a concerted effort to improve water quality and water use efficiency through the passage of bond measures that provided funding for these critical areas. The State and Regional Water Boards have administered numerous loan and grant funding programs from these bond measures (most recently from Propositions 1 and 68 and previously through 13, 40, 50, and 84) to improve water quality and water recycling, implement watershed programs, and monitor groundwater.

Funding Process

The State Water Board develops and adopts project selection guidelines through a public process for its financial assistance programs. The State Water Board uses the guidelines and a variety of processes to solicit, review, and select projects for funding based on the goals of the program and the needs of project proponents (applicants). The solicitation process includes clearly defined criteria and is coordinated with other funding agencies, balancing the need for applicant assistance and making the funds available quickly. A web-based system called Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) is available to provide an efficient means for applicants to apply for loan and grant funding offered by the Water Boards. Using FAAST, applicants can sign up for funding notifications, submit financial assistance applications, and monitor the status of their applications. The proposed projects are judged by review panels on their scientific and readiness merits. The review panels are made up of staff from the State and Regional Water Boards, partner agencies, and, occasionally, stakeholders, who are chosen to provide technical/scientific expertise, as well as regional and multiple agency perspectives. Loan and grant agreements are prepared for the selected projects.

The State and Regional Water Board use a multi-faceted approach to ensuring the success of the projects it funds, which includes establishing a clear understanding of what will be done and when, monitoring the project throughout implementation to ensure that work is conducted as specified, and Regional Water Board review and approval of all project submittals, including invoices. Water quality data collected under the funded projects are captured by the Water Boards' Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) or Groundwater Ambient Monitoring Assessment (GAMA) program.

Funding Programs

The State Water Board has numerous financial assistance programs that provide funding for many purposes. Some are loan programs, while others are grant programs. Some funding programs are administered jointly with other agencies. An overview of selected Water Board financial assistance programs (beginning with the CWSRF) are provided below. For more information on these financial assistance programs and others.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)

The construction of treatment facilities and other actions are necessary to address water quality problems and to prevent pollution of the State's waters.; Under the federal Clean Water Act, the State has established the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF is a low-interest loan program for pollution control and prevention projects, including the planning, design, and construction of publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities, sewer collection systems, and water reclamation facilities; the correction of nonpoint source and stormwater pollution problems; and estuary enhancement activities. The CWSRF is comprised of both federal and State monies. California receives annual capitalization grants from U.S. EPA and provides a 20 percent match via State bonds and local funds.

For more information on CWSRF.

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)

The construction of public drinking water systems facilities and other actions are necessary to ensure that all Californians have access to safe, clean drinking water. Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the State has established the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a low-interest loan program for public water systems, including the planning, design, and construction of projects for infrastructure improvements to correct system deficiencies and improve drinking water quality for the health, safety, and welfare of all Californians. The DWSRF is comprised of both federal and State monies.

For more information on DWSRF.

Proposition 1

Proposition 1 (Assembly Bill 1471, Rendon) authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) will administer Proposition 1 funds for five programs: Small Community Wastewater, water Recycling, Drinking Water, Stormwater, and Groundwater Sustainability.

For more information on Prop 1.

Water Recycling Funding Program (WRFP)

The need for recycled water and other water use efficiency strategies is continually increasing as the State's population grows and water availability is reduced. The Water Recycling Funding Program (WRFP) was established to promote water recycling to augment fresh water supplies by providing technical and financial assistance to local agencies and other stakeholders to support water recycling projects and research. Between 1978 and 2008, the State passed several bond laws that provided loans and grants for the planning and construction of water recycling projects. The CWSRF is also available to provide loans for water recycling facilities that are planned for water supply purposes.

For more information on WRFP.

Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup Fund Program

Petroleum fuel underground storage tanks (USTs) have released significant amounts of contaminants to soil and groundwater and may pose threats to health and safety from contamination of drinking water supply wells, or potential inhalation of vapors within certain buildings. Federal and state laws require every owner and operator of a petroleum UST to maintain financial responsibility to pay for corrective action of releases from UST operations. The UST Cleanup Fund reimburses reasonable and necessary costs incurred by eligible petroleum UST tank owners or operators for corrective action costs. In addition to reimbursing claimants for corrective action costs, the UST Cleanup Fund provides the funding for regulatory oversight by the Regional Water Boards and certified local oversight program (LOP) agencies. The UST Cleanup Fund revenues come from a $0.02 per gallon petroleum storage fee collected from UST owners by the Board of Equalization.

For more information on the UST Cleanup Fund.

Orphan Site Cleanup Fund (OSCF)

The Orphan Site Cleanup Fund (OSCF) provides grants to eligible applicants who are not responsible for site assessment and cleanup of a petroleum release.

For more information on the OSCF.

Emergency, Abandoned, or Recalcitrant Account (EAR)

The Emergency, Abandoned and Recalcitrant Account (EAR) program provides funds for a contractor engaged by the State of California to implement corrective action at sites with petroleum releases for emergency purposes or for sites that have been abandoned or have recalcitrant responsible parties.

Site Cleanup Subaccount

The Site Cleanup Subaccount provides funds to address impacts from surface or groundwater contamination. The funding includes grants for eligible projects, funds for a contractor engaged by the State of California to implement remedies at sites, and funding for regulatory oversight by the Regional Water Boards.

Prop 68 Groundwater Treatment and Remediation Grant Program

Proposition 68 was passed by voters in June 2018. The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) will administer $80 million from Chapter 11.1 for grants for treatment and remediation activities that prevent or reduce the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.