To address drought impacts across the state, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced $200 million in funding available through the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program.
Designed to help communities facing the loss or contamination of their water supplies due to drought, the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program will help address immediate drought impacts on human health and safety, protect fish and wildlife resources, and provide other public benefits, such as ecosystem improvements. At least $50 million of the available funding will be set aside to support underrepresented communities and Native American Tribes.
Funding is also available for public agencies, public utilities, special districts, non-profit organizations, mutual water companies, colleges, and regional water management groups. This program is in addition to a separate $200 million in grants provided through the Small Community Drought Relief Program launched this summer.
“Despite recent rains, we are facing one of the most severe droughts in California history and it is critical that we get funding to communities that need it most to ensure safe, reliable drinking water, agricultural irrigation water, environmental protections, and other public benefits,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “We strongly encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible, especially Tribes.”
DWR will accept applications on a rolling basis until all the funds are expended. DWR will match applications to the appropriate funding source based on eligibility, and projects may be funded by either Urban Community Drought Relief funds or Multibenefit Project funds. The first round of awards will be announced as early as December 2021. Examples of eligible project types include emergency water interties, new wells, and fish and wildlife rescue, protection, and relocation.