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Grants to California Nonprofits, Agencies, IHEs, Tribes, and
Public Utilities to Mitigate the Adverse Effects of Drought

Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program

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California Department of Water Resources (DWR)

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Grants to California nonprofit organizations, public agencies, IHEs, tribes, public utilities, and regional water management groups for projects that address the adverse effects of drought on local communities. Funding is intended to support projects that mitigate the immediate negative impacts on human safety and health, protect fish and wildlife resources, and provide water to communities that face the loss or contamination of their water supplies.

Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program provides grants for the interim and immediate drought relief to urban communities and for multibenefit projects. Projects must meet one of the following purposes:

  1. Address immediate impacts on human health and safety, including providing or improving availability of food, water, or shelter.
  2. Address immediate impacts on fish and wildlife resources.
  3. Provide water to persons or communities that lose or are threatened with the loss or contamination of water supplies.

Eligible Project Types:

  • Hauled water
  • Installation of temporary community water tanks
  • Bottled water
  • Water vending machine
  • Emergency water interties
  • New wells or rehabilitation of existing wells
  • Construction or installation of permanent connection to adjacent water systems, recycled water projects that support immediate relief to potable water supplies
  • Fish and wildlife rescue, protection, and relocation
  • Drought resilience planning (not applicable to Multibenefit Project Funds)
  • Other projects that support immediate drought response

Projects (e.g., water demand management, groundwater recharge, and ecosystem restoration) not explicitly identified by Water Code Section 13198 (c) may still be eligible if projects satisfy the criteria and eligibility outlined in this GL/PSP and address an immediate drought response.

Eligible projects that reasonably satisfy all criteria and meet one or more of the priorities listed below will be prioritized for funding first:

  • Projects that respond to critical human and/or wildlife emergencies. Consideration will be given to such emergency projects that benefit communities, particularly underrepresented communities (see Appendix F), facing a Human Right to Water challenge.
  • Projects that can commence immediately upon receiving funding due to CEQA completion, having secured other environmental approvals, acquired necessary land or landowner permission, and completed plans and specifications.
  • The applicant is an Urban Water Supplier and has activated its Water Shortage Contingency Plan commensurate with a stage appropriate for their current water supply conditions. A higher priority will be placed on Urban Water Suppliers that have activated a higher stage of their Water Shortage Contingency Plan.

If sufficient funding exists, projects that do not meet a priority above may be funded.

Eligible costs include technical assistance, site acquisitions, and costs directly related to the provision of each project.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 199372

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Term of Contract:

Projects must be completed by March 31, 2026.

Drought relief funds will expire on June 30, 2026.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants:
- Public agencies
- Public utilities
- Special districts
- Colleges and universities
- Mutual water companies
- Non-profit organizations (means an organization qualified to do business in California and qualified under Sections 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code)
- Regional water management groups, as defined in Section 10539 of the Water Code
- Federally recognized California Native American Tribes
- Non-federally recognized Native American Tribes on the contact list maintained by the Native American Heritage Commission for the purposes of Chapter 905 of the Statutes of 2004

A set-aside of at least $50 million will be made to support disadvantaged communities (DAC) and Native American Tribes. (An applicant must be an existing Grantee of the Proposition 1 IRWM DACI Program to apply for the Underrepresented Community and Tribal Set-Aside.) A DAC is a community with an annual median household income (MHI) that is less than 80% of the Statewide annual median household income. Using the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey (ACS) data for the years 2012 -2016, 80% of the California Statewide MHI is $51,026. For further information on Underrepresented Communities, see

For a list of ineligible activities and costs, see

Pre-Application Information:

Program Schedule:

DWR will be evaluating applications and making awards on a phased schedule. Below are updated approximate dates for two phases.
- Phase 1: Open application period began October 28, 2021 and closes November 19, 2021. DWR will notify applicants if an application is deemed incomplete or ineligible and allow the applicant to reapply, if desired. Phase 1 applications deemed complete and eligible that are not awarded in the first Phase will be considered for the second Phase of awards.
- Phase 2: DWR is now accepting applications for Phase 2 through Friday, January 14, 2022. DWR strongly encourages applicants to submit applications before the deadline.

Subsequent Phases:
At this time, due to high demand, it is anticipated there may not be more than two phases of this solicitation. Incomplete Phase 2 applications may not have the ability to reapply or new applications won't be accepted.

Please complete the summary form for the application found at If the application contains more than five projects, please contact DWR for an expanded form. A Project Information Form should be completed for each project in addition to this summary form.

All applicants are required to submit a self-certification form to certify compliance with the requirements to demonstrate and maintain eligibility to receive state funds.

All applicants that are awarded funding will be required to enter into a grant agreement with DWR. It is HIGHLY recommended that applicants review the grant agreement template (found in Supporting Documents below) prior to submission of their application. If applicants are not able to abide by the terms and conditions contained therein, applicants should not submit an application. Note that the agreement template is subject to change prior to agreement execution.

DWR will award a portion of the available funding in each phase. Eligible applications that do not receive an award (due to insufficient funds in a particular phase) will be held and prioritized against new applications in the next phase.

Costs incurred after award date are eligible for reimbursement.

Advanced payment: To be eligible for advanced payment, projects must benefit a county and/or watershed included in the Governor’s state of emergency drought proclamations or a drought scenario determined by the State Water Board as set forth in Water Code Section 13198(a). Advanced payment up to 25% of the grant award will be available to eligible applicants that can demonstrate difficulty with cash flow. Note that a project not explicitly identified in Water Code section 13198(c) (e.g., drought resilience planning, demand management) are not eligible to receive advance payment.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit a complete application to DWR using the following e-mail address:

Allison Armstrong
tel: 1-916-820-7652

For questions, contact or

California Department of Water Resources
Division of Regional Assistance, Financial Assistance Branch
715 P Street, 6th Floor, Mailbox 15
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001
Attn: Linda Woolridge

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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