Drought Funding

Financing for Households Facing Water Shortages

There is a patchwork of federal, state and local programs available to assist homeowners experiencing domestic water shortages, listed here. Most have strict eligibility criteria.

United State Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program  

Direct Assistance for homeowners with water shortages:Two USDA RD programs are available to directly assist rural homeowners. More information on 502 and 504 funding can be found on the USDA website and additional details on the basic eligibility requirements are here.

  • Section 502: Rural Housing Direct Loan Program
  • Section 504: Rural Development, Rural Repair and Rehabilitation Loan and Grant Program
USDA Rural Development Grants for local municipalities and NGOs
Two USDA RD grants enable these entities to establish lending programs to address domestic water shortages in rural areas and for low- and very low-income households.
USDA Household Water Well Systems   (HHWS) 

Funds are available for the repair, replacement or servicing of domestic water wells. In 2015, three non-profits received HHWS funding that rural residents may be eligible for:

  • Rural residents in Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and Tulare Counties contact Self-Help Enterprises at 559-651-1000 (more info  ).
  • Rural residents in portions of San Bernardino County, contact California Rural Water Association: http://www.calruralwater.org/pages/contact/  .
  • Rural residents in all other areas contact Rural Community Assistance Corporation at 916-447-2854 (more info  ).
USDA Housing Preservation Grants (HPG)  

an be used to rehabilitate substandard housing to a safe and decent and sanitary condition. Water wells are eligible. For more information on how your jurisdiction or local non-profit can access the funds, contact your local USDA Rural Development office (list of CA offices  ).


If a dry, private household well is near a public water system, they may be eligible for funding to connect to the public water system. If a group of 15 or more homes are within 2 miles of each other, they may be eligible for funding to create their own public water system(more info  ). Counties and state agencies should work with these well owners to identify the most appropriate solution to their drinking water shortages.

  Download a PDf Summary of USDA Drought Assistance

The California Department of Housing and Community Development  

Funding is available through two programs that enable water well owners to deepen existing wells or drill new ones. For both funding sources local jurisdiction or nonprofits are the intermediaries between the Department and the community members. Visit HCD’s Drought Resources website   for more information.

  • Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) Housing Rehabilitation Funds are available to cities and counties. For more information, contact Susan.Naramore@hcd.ca.gov.
  • CalHome funds are available for local jurisdiction or nonprofits. For more information, contact Raymond.Victor@hcd.ca.gov.

  Download a PDF Summary of the Above Resources

Water Efficiency Rebate$ and Loan$

Water utilities in many parts of California offer their customers rebates on purchases of water conservation devices and appliances such as high-efficiency showerheads and clothes washing machines e.g. SoCal Water$mart 2014-2015  . Some utilities even offer free items such as faucet aerators and shower timers. Low-interest loans may be available from your local government and/or water utility. Loans typically cover the cost of installing water-efficient devices and appliances inside the home and outdoors. Rebates can often be combined with loans, which helps lower the amount of financing needed. By upgrading your appliances to energy efficient machines, you can save both energy and water. See a list of rebates programs in the Conservation Section and Save Our Water’s Toilet and Turf Replacement portal  .

Don’t know who your water agency is? Use Save Our Water’s Find Your Local Water Agency tool  .

Funding Opportunities for Local Agencies

This list is not exhaustive, please visit the State and Agency Resources page for more information on State and Federal assistance programs.

Funding from State Agencies

Funding from Federal Programs