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California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for many Californians to pay their bills due to job loss and other hardships. As a result, systems that provide water services to customers have been financially impacted.

Through $985 million in federal funding allocated by the state legislature, the State Water Board is creating a new program to provide relief to community water and wastewater systems for unpaid bills related to the pandemic. The funding will cover water debt from residential and commercial customers accrued between March 4, 2020 and June 15, 2021.

The Program will initially prioritize drinking water residential and commercial arrearages. Funding to community water systems will be disbursed through January 31, 2022. If the Program still has funding available, it will extend to wastewater residential and commercial arrearages by February 2022.

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Arrearage Program Application Map

  Events and Deadlines

Wastewater Arrearage Program

  • Public Workshop on draft Guidelines – January 4, 2022
  • Public Comment Period ended January 5, 2022
  • State Water Board adopted amendments to the Guidelines – January 19, 2022
  • Applications Open – February 1, 2022
  • Application Period Ends – April 1, 2022

The application period for the Drinking Water Arrearage Program closed December 6, 2021.

Drinking Water Arrearage Program

  • Allocate payments as bill credits to customer accounts within 60 days of receiving payment. 
  • Notify customers of the amount credited and offer to enroll customers with remaining debt into a payment plan by direct notification to each customer. 
  • Allow customers 30 days to enroll in a payment plan.
  • Complete Reporting Requirements Survey.
  • Remit any funds not credited to customers to State Water Board within 6 months of receiving payment.

  Quick Links

Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Prevention

Other Assistance Programs NOT Administered by the State Water Board

Water Utility Assistance

  • Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), administered by California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD)
    • water and wastewater utility assistance for income-qualified customers
    • NOTE: Program opens June 2022
  • The California Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) is now enrolling water and wastewater systems in LIHWAP. LIHWAP is a customer-based program where qualified, low-income households can apply to their Local Service Provider (LSPs) to receive a one-time credit (up to $2,000) on their water or wastewater bill. Water or wastewater systems must enroll in LIHWAP direct payment agreements for their low-income customers to be able to participate.
  • Once you complete the interest form, CSD’s direct payment coordinator, HORNE, will be in touch to complete the enrollment process. To learn more about the program, visit CSD’s LIHWAP webpage or watch the LIHWAP webinar on water/wastewater system enrollment.

Energy Utility Assistance

Rent Assistance

  Stay informed

Drinking Water Systems - Email Subscription List

Subscribe directly to the Drinking Water Arrearage Payment Program (COVID Relief) Electronic Mailing List

Email Address: (required)

Your Full Name: (required)

(e.g. John Smith)

Check your email account for a confirmation email to complete your subscription.

Drinking Water Contacts


Wastewater Systems - Email Subscription List

Subscribe directly to the Waste Water Arrearage Payment Program (COVID Relief) Electronic Mailing List

Email Address: (required)

Your Full Name: (required)

(e.g. John Smith)

Check your email account for a confirmation email to complete your subscription.

Wastewater Contacts