Backup Generator Funding Program


The Backup Generator Funding Program (Program) provides backup generators to drinking water systems that do not have adequate backup electrical supply to ensure continuous operations during power failures. The Program is currently funded through the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SADW Fund) and is administered by the California Rural Water Association (CRWA) and the Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC). Approximately $6 million was authorized for program development and implementation in November 2021. This is currently a pilot program with potential to expand into future years to provide generators to additional drinking water systems and wastewater systems.

Generator recipients must meet the following criteria:

  • Serve small (less than 10,000 people) disadvantaged (median household income [MHI] <80% statewide MHI, more than 50% of the homes are primary residences) communities;
  • Be classified as community water systems (excluding mobile home parks, RV parks, and other types of entities where backup power generation needs may go beyond providing water services will not be eligible for funding); AND
  • Agree to having Technical Assistance perform a technical, managerial, and financial (TMF) assessment, and to take necessary steps to address recommended actions noted by the TMF assessment.

Additionally, if a water system is currently undergoing consolidation, the Division of Financial Assistance (Division) may consider needs for a generator both before and after consolidation.

CRWA and RCAC will administer the program in the Southern and Northern Field Office Branches of the Division of Drinking Water, respectively:

Counties covered by CRWA

Fresno, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, Tuolumne, Ventura

Counties covered by RCAC

Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Yolo, Yuba

  See the Divison of Drinking Water District Offices Map

  Application Process

Applications will be accepted from September 6 to December 9, 2022. If you are interested in applying or if you have any questions about the Backup Generator Funding Program, please email with the following information:

  • name of your water system,
  • the public Water System ID,
  • a Service Area Boundary Map, and
  • the estimated number of second homes.

The Division will use this information to determine your system’s eligibility for generator funding. If eligible, DFA will direct you to a Technical Assistance Provider to assist you with the application process. A copy of the application can be viewed here. Priority for funding is based on a combination of (1) probability to experience power shutoffs and (2) level of impact on critical water services during a power shutoff.

Once the Division approves funding for a system, CRWA and RCAC will work with the system to cover all tasks related to generator installation, including selecting an appropriate type of generator(s), completing plans and specifications (if applicable), acquiring permits, purchasing and installing the generator, and providing training and maintenance support (including purchasing manufacturer warranty).

The Application for initial round of funding was by invitation only.  The Division worked closely with regulatory agencies to establish the Potential Priority List to include community water systems that are preliminarily identified as Priority 1 or 2. CRWA and RCAC conducted outreach and invited systems on the Potential Priority List to submit an application for backup generator funding. The current list includes the application status submitted as of January 19, 2022. The funding decision was based on the priority level and funding availability.

  Contact Us

For general information and questions, please contact: