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Grants to USA Tribes in Multiple States and Territories to Improve Public Drinking Water

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Geographic Focus

USA: Arizona;  California;  Hawaii;  Nevada USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);  Guam (USA);  Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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Drinking Water Tribal Set-Aside (DWTSA) Program

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9

Agency: Federal

GrantWatch ID #163446

Grant Description

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Grants to Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam federally recognized tribes to improve public drinking water. Funding is intended to support projects to enhance public water system infrastructure, and to address health hazards caused by inadequate infrastructure. Grants may be awarded directly to tribes or through interagency agreements with the Indian Health Service.

The Drinking Water Tribal Set-Aside program provides funding for federally recognized tribes within EPA Region 9 for public water system infrastructure. Infrastructure projects funded through the DWTSA must address the most significant threats to public health associated with public water systems that serve tribal populations. Examples of eligible activities include:

  • Rehabilitate or develop drinking water sources (excluding reservoirs, dams, water rights);
  • Install or upgrade drinking water treatment facilities;
  • Install or upgrade drinking water storage facilities;
  • Install or replace transmission and distribution pipes;
  • Replace aging infrastructure;
  • Install new transmission, distribution or service lines to connect existing homes to a public water supply;
  • Water efficiency projects (e.g., installation of meters);
  • Expansion, consolidation or development of a new public water system; and
  • Develop preliminary engineering reports (PERs).

New Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) programs to address emerging contaminants in drinking water and lead service line replacements include additional eligibilities that are more fully described in EPA’s March 2022 BIL Implementation memo (pdf). Under these new appropriations, projects must be otherwise DWTSA eligible, and their primary purpose must be to address emerging contaminants in drinking water or be a lead service line replacement project or associated activity directly connected to the identification, planning, design or replacement of lead service lines. Eligible project examples under these new programs include:

  • Completing pre-development activities (such as determining if and where contamination exists) for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants.
  • Conducting initial, special (non-routine/noncompliance) monitoring to establish a baseline understanding of a contaminant of concern.
  • Developing project planning and preliminary engineering documents for PFAS and other emerging contaminants projects.
  • Designing projects to address PFAS and other emerging contaminants.
  • Developing or updating lead service line inventories, including locating and mapping lead service lines.
  • Providing technical assistance to small water systems undertaking lead service line inventories or construction projects.
  • Conducting non-routine lead sampling (not for compliance purposes).

Addendum 99-1 to the national guidelines allows funding for the creation of new community water systems to address existing public health problems caused by unsafe drinking water provided by individual wells or surface water sources. The policy also allows the creation of new regional community water systems which consolidate several existing systems that have technical, financial, or managerial difficulties. According to the national guidelines, new systems may be funded only if specific conditions are met. (See

DWTSA funding can also be used to develop a preliminary engineering report, and for work to secure rights of way (though DWTSA funds cannot be used to purchase real property).

The national guidelines also allow EPA to consider funding unscheduled “emergency” projects after EPA uses its prioritization method to rank projects for a year. Such projects can include those where some type of failure was unanticipated or the result of natural disaster or an emergency and may require immediate attention to protect public health. In these cases, EPA has the authority to fund the emergency project provided it meets the requirements of the Drinking Water Tribal Set Aside Program.

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Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Only federally recognized Indian tribes within EPA Region 9 may submit proposals. Region 9 covers the States of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada as well as the Pacific Islands of American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam.

Proposals will benefit eligible public water systems (PWS). PWS eligibility is limited as follows:
- Only public water systems that are community water systems or non-profit, non-community water systems are eligible to receive funding;
- The water system must serve an Indian Tribe;
- The water system must be in compliance with the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations unless the project which is being funded will ensure compliance;
- The water system must be operated by adequately trained and certified operators.
- The water system utility must have or be able to develop the technical, financial and managerial capacity to properly maintain the water system.

For ineligible projects, see

Additional Geographic Information:

Map of eligible Tribal lands in Region 9:

Pre-Application Information:

To be considered for FY23 DWTSA funds, EPA must receive proposals by November 30, 2022.

Important Dates:
- November 30, 2022: EPA must receive proposals by this date, including the project proposal form, tribal government endorsement, and any preliminary engineering reports and supporting documents.
- December 2022: EPA will initiate a 90-Day tribal consultation period to consider additional project prioritization criteria for BIL Programs to address emerging contaminants in drinking water (EC) and lead service line (LSL) replacements.
- January 2023: EPA will notify each applicant of the draft proposal priority and whether the project was selected to continue with the application process.
- February 2023: EPA will conclude tribal consultation for new EC and LSL BIL Program criteria.
- March 2023: Applicants can submit comments on the draft prioritization. For projects selected to continue with the application process, applicants must submit responses to any EPA comments, and submit any additional documentation or endorsements that EPA requests.
- April-August 2023: EPA will notify applicants of the final priority list and funding decision, along with guidance letters for projects to be funded by a grant.
- May-August 2023: Tribe submits grant application, or Indian Health Service submits draft Memorandum of Agreement and signed Project Summary (exact dates will be included in funding decision notification letters).
- September 2023: EPA awards funds for selected projects.

Tribes may request that projects be awarded as either a grant to the Tribe or an interagency agreement with the Indian Health Service. This assistance will be awarded under Section 300j-12 of the Safe Drinking Water Act, 42 U.S.C. §1452.

Matching funds are not typically required; however, in cases where commercial entities and/or non-tribal populations receive water from the public water system, EPA may require the tribe to provide a funding contribution proportional to the water demand of the commercial entity and/or non-tribal populations. Similarly, for projects whose costs are correlated with water usage, a funding contribution may be required for water systems using over 150 gallons per capita per day, with the contribution proportional to the amount over 150 gallons per capita per day used. Additionally, given the limited funds available under this program and EPA’s goal to maximize the number of projects it can fund, EPA may work with applicants to explore the availability of funding from other federal agencies, tribal or third-party sources to contribute to the total project cost.

For related documents, see the bottom of the URL for Full Text below.

Additional Funding Information:

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Projects may range in size from $30,000 to over $2 million.

Contact Information:

E-mail one electronic copy of the proposal and any documentation to: Nancy Sockabasin,

For general information about this program, please contact:
Nancy Sockabasin
Drinking Water Tribal Set-Aside Program Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
75 Hawthorne Street (WTR-4)
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 972-3772

To discuss specific information about your water system, please contact your EPA program manager. See a list of program managers on

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