DWR is now accepting applications for $510 million in financial assistance to support water supply reliability, garden transformation and migratory birds

Major construction elements of the Savory Pond expansion project in Fresno, California, funded by DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. The project will capture surface water to recharge the underground aquifer to improve the drinking water supply for domestic well owners and residents of a local underprivileged community.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As California prepares for an extreme drought that will extend into a fourth year, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) is preparing to provide $510 million in financial assistance to help communities, water agencies water and farmers to prepare for a warmer and drier future.

“All communities are affected by climate change and several years of extreme drought conditions. California is taking aggressive action to transform how we use and manage water so we can thrive in a warmer, drier future,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Newsom and the state legislature, we are rolling out much-needed funding to support communities, farmers and wildlife as we expand existing supplies and build climate resilience.”

DWR’s fundraising efforts include:

$300 million in financial assistance for water infrastructure improvements, course transformations and improved water supply reliability

DWR is offering $300 million through the Urban Communities Drought Relief Grant Program 2022 as part of a new ‘Go Golden’ program that provides financial assistance and resources to help large organizations, water agencies and communities build resilience, replacing parched lawns with native landscaping of California and to promote water conservation as the golden rule of life.

This financial assistance supports projects that build climate resilience and emphasize water conservation efforts. This follows the $268 million award under DWR’s 2021 Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief program. Eligible projects include water infrastructure repairs, water conservation programs such as course transformation, well rehabilitation, emergency water interconnections, and fish and wildlife protection. Approximately $85 million of available funding will be earmarked to support underrepresented communities and tribes. Funding is also available for public agencies, utilities, special districts, non-profit organizations, water mutuals, colleges, and regional integrated water management groups.

The 2022 Urban Community Drought Relief program is one of DWR’s newest efforts to advance water conservation in California’s commercial, institutional, industrial and community sectors. DWR will begin accepting applications on October 10 and those interested can visit the Urban Communities Drought Funding 2022 Webpage for more information on program guidelines and additional resources. Communities with failing drinking water supplies should contact their county’s office of emergency services for immediate assistance and emergency response to urgent drinking water needs. These contacts can then facilitate applications for state funding.

$10.7 million in financial assistance available for farmers to support water conservation in the delta and help migratory birds

DWR has partnered with the Sacramento San-Joaquin Delta Conservancy to offer $10.7 million in a second round of funding through the Delta Drought Response pilot program. The program works with farmers in the delta to implement measures that are meant to conserve water, protect delta water quality, promote soil health, and mitigate the effects of drought on migratory fish and birds.

The Central Valley is one of the main wintering grounds for migrating waterfowl, supporting wintering waterfowl and attracting millions of birds to the seasonal marshes. With California’s prolonged drought and climate change resulting in less water and habitat for wildlife, farmers could receive a premium of $75 per acre for short-term shallow flooding or $40 per acre to provide nesting habitat due to delayed harvest. The Delta Conservancy will conduct the 2023 program through a reverse auction. Bids, which can be submitted through the Delta Conservancy website, will be accepted until October 18, 2022.

For all questions about Delta Drought Response Pilot Program and future solicitations, please contact the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy at [email protected].

$200 million in financial assistance for communities that rely on groundwater

California’s warming climate means changes in rainfall, reduced snow cover and ongoing extreme drought are likely to increase demand on groundwater sources, risking overdraft and declining quality some water. Understanding that many municipal, agricultural and disadvantaged communities depend on groundwater for up to 100% of their water needs, DWR is offering $200 million in funding through a second solicitation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. The funding will help regional groundwater agencies comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and follows the release in May of $150 million to groundwater agencies in California’s 20 overdraft basins.

The $200 million solicitation will support planning efforts and projects in medium and high priority groundwater basins to help local agencies achieve their groundwater sustainability goals. Eligible projects include groundwater recharge projects, projects that prevent or clean up contaminated groundwater supplies that serve as a source of drinking water, and other projects that support the reliability of water supplies for people, farms and the environment. Funding will also support revisions or updates to an existing Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) or an alternative to a GSP.

Visit the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grants Program Webpage to view program guidelines and additional resources.

In addition to the $510 million grant announced today, DWR will also unveil a new program this fall to provide $50 million to protect drinking water wells in vulnerable communities. The program will create a financial incentive for farmers to temporarily set aside farmland to reduce pressure on shallow drinking water wells and groundwater ponds. The program will promote the acceleration of the implementation of the law on the sustainable management of groundwater. In the coming weeks, DWR will engage farmers, groundwater agencies, and other agricultural interests to roll out this program.

As California enters a possible fourth dry year, it’s critical that we all do our part to use water wisely. Water conservation should continue until autumn, even in the event of rainy episodes. More information and tips for saving water are available at saveurwater.com. For more information on other drought response efforts and funding programs from DWR and the State of California, visit: drought.ca.gov.

Additional Resources:


Allison Armstrong, Information Manager, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources

916-820-7652 | [email protected]