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.

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.

  Application Process

Applications are currently not being accepted. Applications that were submitted by the Round 2 deadline of December 9, 2022, are currently being reviewed to determine funding eligibility. Applicants will be notified of application status in February 2023. 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 Round 1 of funding was by invitation only in fall 2021 and carried out as a pilot program. Priority for funding was based on a combination of (1) probability to experience power shutoffs and (2) level of impact on critical water services during a power shutoff. 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.

  Other Resources

Due to high demand for generator funding, interested water systems are also encouraged to pursue other funding programs for backup generators, including ones listed below:

  Contact Us

For general information and questions, please contact: