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Water: U.S. Mexico Border Program

U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program FAQs

The EPA's U.S.-Mexico Border Water Infrastructure Program provides grant assistance to communities along the U.S.-Mexico border for planning, design, and construction of drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. EPA's grant funding program supports the Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP), administered by Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC), and the Border Environmental Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), administered by North American Development Bank (NADB).

What Types of Projects Are Eligible for Funding?

Eligible projects include: sewer systems, pump stations, and treatment plants, on-site wastewater treatment systems, drinking water transmission lines, storage tanks, pump stations and water treatment plants. Recognizing the disparity between the water infrastructure needs of the border region and the limited grant funds potentially available, EPA and the BECC, in coordination with appropriate agency stakeholders including the NADB, have created a process to prioritize projects for funding. The objective of the prioritization process is to ascertain which drinking water and wastewater projects will address the most severe public health and environmental conditions identified in communities along the border. Therefore, the methodology for prioritization assigns first priority to projects that address the most urgent public health needs.

Are Projects in Mexico Eligible to Receive Funding?

Yes. The EPA and program partner Commission Nacional de Agua CONAGUA (Mexican National Water Commission) coordinate bi-national water infrastructure activities. However, all infrastructure projects funded in Mexico with U.S. funds must have a U.S.-side benefit. Many rivers along the border either originate in Mexico and flow northward into the United States. (Tijuana River, New River, Santa Cruz River, San Pedro River) or form the border between the United States and Mexico (Rio Grande). The program was originally proposed because U.S. lawmakers understood that, as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican border region would grow very rapidly. Without U.S. investment in Mexican wastewater collection and treatment, these shared rivers would become extremely polluted. They also understood that, as a result of transboundary migration, lack of clean drinking water could result in health problems for people living on both sides of the border. The water infrastructure investments have paid off. Between 2003 and 2013, the program has provided more than 63,300 homes with first-time access to safe drinking water, and more than 569,800 homes with first-time access to wastewater treatment services, significantly reducing the risk of waterborne diseases.

How Much Funding Has Been Provided?

To date, EPA's investments of $773 million have leveraged $1.8 billion in funding. More than 100 construction projects have been funded, and 84 of these projects have been completed, benefiting more than 5 million border residents.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible projects must be located within 62 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. To be considered eligible for funding, projects, both in the United States and in Mexico, must propose to address existing conditions that if improved will have a positive impact to the health and environment in the United States. Projects in Mexico must also have the support of appropriate federal and state agencies, including CONAGUA and the respective state water utility. In addition, if a project sponsor is not in compliance with an existing BEIF grant agreement or PDAP technical assistance agreement, the project sponsor will be considered ineligible for future BEIF/PDAP funding until these issues have been resolved.

How to Apply

When funding becomes available, EPA Regions 6 and 9 issue a solicitation that identifies the timeframe for submitting an application, documents that need to accompany the application, ranking criteria and information on the funding process.

EPA Regional Contacts

Region 6 contact is Gilbert Tellez at tellez.gilbert@epa.gov
Region 9 contact is Susan Cox at cox.susan@epa.gov

Additional Information

Certification requirements are explained in the BECC's Certification Criteria available for review on the BECC Web site, www.cocef.org. Information related to the requirements for financing approval can be reviewed on the NADB Web site, http://www.nadb.org.

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