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. Funding to eligible community water systems who have applied will be disbursed through January 31, 2022.
The program will fund debt related to drinking water first. If funds remain after Jan. 31, 2022, the program will extend to wastewater debt.
Some other state agencies have received federal funding to assist customers directly. Here are a few additional assistance programs:
Water Utility Assistance
- Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, administered by California Department of Community Services and Development
- Water and wastewater utility assistance for income-qualified customers
- NOTE: Program opens late fall 2021.
Energy Utility Assistance
- California Arrearage Payment Program, administered by California Department of Community Services & Development
- Eligible customers automatically will be credited and do not need to apply.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, administered by California Department of Community Services and Development
- Utility assistance for income-qualified customers
- To learn more about eligibility, visit CSD’s website.
California COVID-19 Rent Relief, administered by Consumer Services and Housing Agency
- Draft Program Guidelines
- Passed Legislation Establishing Program
- Only community water systems are eligible.
- Residential and commercial accounts that are 60 days or more behind on their payments are eligible.
- To receive funds through this program, water systems must not disconnect customer service before September 30, 2021, OR before the date that a customer misses a payment on an established payment plan, whichever is later.
- State Water Board Implementation Requirements
The State Water Board must:
- Survey water systems to gather information about their outstanding debt.
- Adopt a resolution with program guidelines that include funding allocations for community water systems based upon the information collected from a survey released on August 11, 2021. If there is not enough funding to cover the entire eligible water debt for all community water systems, funding will be disbursed proportionally to community water systems that have responded to the August 11, 2021 survey (i.e., applicants will receive a certain percentage of funding based on the established funding allocation listed in the State Water Board resolution).
- Begin accepting applications within 14 days of the adopted State Water Board Resolution that includes the Program’s guidelines.
- Contact community water systems that have not applied for the Program within the initial 60-day application period.
- Begin disbursing funds by November 1, 2021, prioritizing payments to small community water systems first.
- Complete disbursement of funds by January 31, 2022.
- Community Water Systems Implementation Requirements
Community water systems that have accepted program funding must:
- Prioritize residential customers and those with the highest debt.
- Credit customer accounts and notify customers of the credit within 60 days of receiving payment.
- Offer customers the option of signing up for a payment plan if program funds don’t cover their outstanding debt.
- Not disconnect customer service before September 30, 2021, OR before the date that a customer misses a payment on an established payment plan, whichever is later.
- Remit any unused funds to the State Water Board within six months of receiving the funds.
- Program Survey Guidance webinar August 19, 2021
Upcoming Events and Deadlines
- August 31, 2021 - Drinking Water Arrearage Program Brownbag Q & A Session
- September 9, 2021 - Arrearages Board Workshop
- September 10, 2021, 5:00 PM - Drinking Water Arrearage Program Survey Deadline
- September 21, 2021 - Board Meeting
Water systems intending to participate in the program
Community Water Systems Debt Relief Application Process
Please continuously check the webpage and your email for notifications about the process.
- Step 1: Submit Taxpayer Identification Form
- Government Entity Only: Government Taxpayer ID Form.
- Non-Government Entity
- Payee Data Record (STD. 204) – If any required tax reporting is generated for the community water system, the tax document will be sent to the address on this form.
- Payee Data Record Supplement (STD. 205) – If supplemental information for the community water system, such as additional mailing addresses.
- Step 2: Submit survey to help State Water Board establish funding allocations (Required to move forward with submitting an application) – Survey opens August 11, 2021 and closes September 10, 2021. Community water systems can access the survey through their Electronic Annual Report portal.
- Step 3: Submit Application with documentation – application window opens within 14 days of adoption of resolution.
Frequently Asked Questions
Community Water System Required Forms and Documents
Taxpayer Identification Information – Form(s) containing the federal tax filing information must be provided prior to any payments being released. Providing this information ahead of time will help expedite funding. The entity’s name and Taxpayer Identification Number provided on the form(s) must match the information on file with the Internal Revenue Service to be accepted. Email completed forms to email@example.com.
If your community water system needs assistance to determine the name and Taxpayer Identification Number on file with the Internal Revenue Service, please contact the IRS at 800-829-4933 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.(Pacific Time) Monday through Friday to request a letter containing this information.
- Government Entity Only
- Non-Government Entity
- Payee Data Record (STD. 204) – If any required tax reporting is generated for the community water system, the tax document will be sent to the address on this form. Instructions are available on the form to assist with completion.
- Payee Data Record Supplement (STD. 205) – If supplemental information for the community water system is needed (e.g., additional mailing addresses, contacts, etc.), complete this form. Instructions are available on the form to assist with completion.
- Signatory Requirements Guidelines
- Authorized Signatory Form