Drought Funding


The State Water Board has funding available for projects that address either drought-related urgent drinking water needs or long-term resilience.


Eligible entities include:

  • Public agencies, including counties and Regional Boards
  • Tribal governments
  • Community water systems
  • Non-profit organizations serving disadvantaged communities

For individual households, refer to the following options:

Eligible projects include:

  • Short-term solutions (mostly emergency repairs and drinking water delivery)
    • Bottled water
    • Hauled water (and tanks)
    • Well repair, rehabilitation, and replacements
    • Emergency interties
    • Vending machines
    • Necessary rented or borrowed equipment
  • Long-term solutions
    • New wells
    • Extension of service
    • Regional consolidation
    • Treatment systems
    • Distribution system improvements
    • New tanks
    • Emergency generators
    • Water recycling projects

Organizations and entities interested in funding drinking water programs for schools may apply directly through technical assistance providers. Find more information here.

How to Apply

For emergency assistance: Contact your county office of emergency services

For short-term/emergency projects (see examples below): Complete the Urgent Drinking Water Needs Application and submit to DFA-CAA@waterboards.ca.gov (assistance is available upon request)

For long-term/resiliency projects (see examples below): Complete the funding application online via the Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST).
For small communities, select the Request for Proposal (RFP) titled "Small Community Funding Program, Pre-Application". All other drinking water systems can apply directly to the RFP titled "Drinking Water State Revolving Fund" (either planning or construction). For water recycling projects, use the "Water Recycling Funding Program" RFP.

Funding Process Overview

Once a complete application is submitted, DFA staff will review and follow up with the applicant regarding any questions. Once all questions have been addressed, DFA staff will prepare and submit a funding recommendation to management. The DFA Deputy Director will review and either approve or deny funding.

If funding is approved, DFA staff will notify the Recipient and provide the start date for costs to be incurred. DFA staff will also work with the Recipient to develop a scope of work for the grant agreement.

Funding is through a reimbursement process. It typically takes several months to develop a grant agreement and reimbursements can only be paid out once a funding agreement has been executed. Once the agreement is executed, the Recipient will submit reimbursement requests and progress reports as the project is implemented.

Responsibility During Emergencies

All emergencies begin at the local level and the Local Government is best positioned to provide immediate emergency relief such as bottled and hauled water. Under the State’s Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), the Local Government should request assistance and resources from progressive levels of the state's emergency management organization as they exhaust their resources. The CalOES 2016 Administrative Order with the Water Boards outlines the requirement to follow the SEMS process during emergency and disaster operations. This allows the Regional and State organizational levels to respond and provide the required support.

Similarly, a Public Water System (PWS) must first go through their Local Government Office of Emergency Services to request emergency funding for immediate relief while simultaneously notifying the Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water of this request. This allows the request for funding assistance to follow the SEMS organizational levels for effective and timely management of the request while providing the Water Board with situational awareness to assist where necessary.

Map of Funded Projects