How to Find Funding for Water and Wastewater Utilities

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How to Find Funding for Water and Wastewater Utilities

Securing outside funding to support improvements and maintenance for wastewater systems can be a daunting task. But the first step in applying for a grant is identifying your needs and assets. Smart communities don’t apply for funding simply because it exists; they apply because they need it.

The purpose of a grant application is to demonstrate that funds are needed and that they will be used responsibly. For that reason, it’s best to identify a need or problem, and then search for grants that can help solve it. Not only will this result in more compelling arguments for your application, but you’ll also be able to prioritize your problems and do a better job managing your assets by tackling real, high-priority problems head on.

Identifying grant and funding sources

Once you know what your needs and goals are, you should begin searching for grant opportunities. Consider what types of organizations may be interested in your project. For example, building out stormwater drainage for a new development may support economic growth and housing, but if you prioritize green, low-impact installation and systems you may also find support from health and environmental organizations. To identify and research opportunities, start with these resources:

  • Most grant opportunities from federal agencies like the EPA, USDA, HUD and DOC are easily searchable at, which also hosts application forms and useful resources to help you throughout the proposal process.
  • Search for your relevant state and local agencies to identify those involved in supporting infrastructure for water management.
  • Visit the list of local resources provided by the Environmental Finance Center Network, a university-based organization that assists communities in finding financial solutions to environmental problems.
  • Reach out to industry associations such as APWA or AWWA, or other regional or local business groups for suggestions.
  • Contact your state representatives or visit their websites for a wealth of information about local, state and federal grants.

Once you've identified a grant opportunity you'd like to pursue, it's time to develop the application. Not sure where to start? Envirosight's free, two-part grant guide reviews grant-giving agencies, program eligibility requirements and writing tips.

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