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Water: Fed FUNDS

Private Non-Profit Water/Wastewater Utility

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A tremendous amount of information is available about various federal disaster funding programs. To help you save time and effort in determining which program(s) are most appropriate for your water/wastewater utility, this page offers useful website links and provides tips for water/wastewater utilities to apply for funding.

  1. Are you interested in learning about funding opportunities to repair damage to your utility from a significant incident such as a Presidentially-Declared Disaster?
  2. Are you interested in funding for mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages?
  3. Are you a rural utility serving a town with a population of less than 10,000?

If you are interested in learning about funding opportunities to repair damage to your utility from a significant incident such as a Presidentially-Declared Disaster:

  • Consider the FEMA Public Assistance Grant (PA) Program, which may provide funding for a damaged facility in a Presidentially-Declared Disaster to repair/replace the facility to pre-disaster conditions.
  • Consider Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster loans.
    • SBA Business Physical and Economic Injury loans fund repair for damaged facilities to pre-disaster conditions caused by a federally-declared disaster.
    • For program information tailored for water/wastewater utilities, see the SBA Program topics in Fed FUNDS or go directly to the SBA Loan website and SBA Loan Applications.
    • SBA loans will cover uninsured and under-insured physical damage. However, if your facility is in a special flood hazard area, it must have flood insurance before SBA can disburse a loan.
  • PRIOR to a disaster, assemble all documents on the state of your facility and equipment. This includes periodic photos of facilities and equipment, copies of maintenance records, and insurance policies.
  • To document the damage, take photos and write up the damage as soon as possible (when it is safe to do so) AFTER the disaster but PRIOR to performing any cleanup and repairs.
  • Document every expense, including those for equipment (repair and replacement), employee overtime, and other emergency expenses used to protect the facility.

If you are interested in funding for mitigation activities that reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages

FEMA has several Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs. These programs provide funding for mitigation activities completed before a disaster occurs (referred to as pre-disaster mitigation measures). They also cover activities completed after a disaster to prevent reoccurring damage to a facility (referred to as post-disaster mitigation measures). Consider the following FEMA programs for mitigation grants.

  • FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program. This Program provides grants to repair damage to a utility caused by a Presidentially-Declared Disaster. It may also provide grants to upgrade damaged parts of a facility to mitigate possible damage from future disasters (e.g., raising replacement equipment above flood levels).
  • FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. This Program provides grants for long-term hazard mitigation measures after a Presidential Disaster Declaration. The grants can be used to upgrade undamaged parts of a facility to prevent damage by future disasters.
  • FEMA's Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program. This Program provides mitigation grants to upgrade a facility prior to a disaster declaration or for instances when the disaster declaration occurred more than a year ago.
  • FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance Program. This Program provides mitigation grants to upgrade a facility to prevent flood damage if the facility is insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • FEMA's Repetitive Flood Claims Program. This Program provides mitigation grants to upgrade a facility to prevent repetitive flood damage if the facility is insured by the National Flood Insurance Program and has already filed one or more claims to the NFIP for flood damage.

See the table "FEMA Grant Programs that Provide Mitigation Funding (PDF)" (2 pp, 153K, About PDF) for a comparison of FEMA mitigation programs and the eligibility of public, private non-profit, and private for-profit utilities. Contact your local government to begin the application process.

For more program information tailored for water/wastewater utilities, see the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Programs topic in Fed FUNDS or go directly to the FEMA Mitigation website.


If you are a rural utility serving a town with a population of less than 10,000:

  • Small, rural utilities may be eligible for the USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG).  For program information tailored for water/wastewater utilities, see the USDA ECWAG topics in Fed FUNDS or go directly to the USDA website.
  • Look at the USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants Web page for rural utilities.
    • Emergencies are not limited to drought, earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, disease outbreak, chemical spill, or leakage.
    • Funding up to $500,000 is available to alleviate a significant decline in quantity and quality of water available. Examples are new wells, reservoirs, transmission lines, treatment plants.
    • Funding under $150,000 is available for distribution waterline extensions, and breaks or repairs on distribution waterlines.
  • Currently because of budget cuts, funding for the USDA Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants may not be available for fiscal year 2012. In the past for certain disasters, Congress has created special appropriations that cover rural utility funding programs for repairing/reimbursing rural water utilities.

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