2021 Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program

Portal ID:
Closed (148 total applications submitted)
Opportunity Type:
  • Grant
Last Updated:



The Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program offers financial assistance to address drought impacts through implementation of projects with multiple benefits. For communities, including Tribes, facing the loss or contamination of their water supplies due to the drought; to address immediate drought impacts on human health and safety; and to protect fish and wildlife resources plus other public benefits, such as ecosystem improvements.


Under the Budget Act of 2021(Stats. 2021, ch. 69, § 112), financial assistance will be provided by DWR to deliver grants for interim and immediate drought relief to urban communities and for multibenefit projects. DWR is combining the funding into one Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program. This Grant Solicitation makes approximately $190 million in drought relief funding available. A set-aside of at least $50 million will be made to support Underrepresented Communities and Native American Tribes (Tribes). An applicant must be an existing grantee of the Proposition 1 IRWM Disadvantaged Community Involvement (DACI) program to apply for the Underrepresented Community set-aside.

Eligible applicants are public agencies and utilities, colleges and universities, mutual water companies, 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, regional water management groups as defined in Section 10539 of the Water Code, federally recognized California Native American Tribes, and non-federally recognized Native American Tribes on the contact list maintained by the California Native American Heritage Commission.

For the purposes of this Grant Solicitation, “project” means all planning, design, engineering, acquisition of real property interests, construction and related activities undertaken to implement a discrete action to be funded. Eligible project types include hauled water, installation of temporary community water tanks, bottled water, water vending machines, 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, and drought resiliency planning (not applicable to Multibenefit Drought Funds).

Costs incurred after award date are eligible for reimbursement. Eligible costs include technical assistance, site acquisitions, and costs directly related to the provision of each project. Ineligible costs not reimbursable by this Grant Solicitation are listed in the Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package (GL/PSP) and include, but are not limited to, meals not directly related to travel, payment of stipends, purchase of equipment or water supplies that are not an integral part of the project, establishment of a reserve fund, replacement of existing funding sources for ongoing programs, operation and maintenance costs, expenses incurred in preparation of the application for this solicitation or an application for another program, and any indirect costs.

Proposed applications will be reviewed for eligibility, in accordance with the GL/PSP. Criteria and metrics defined in GL/PSP will be used to evaluate and recommend projects eligible for funding to DWR Director or designee. Awards will be posted on DWR’s website and may be announced to the public through e-mail listserv or other means. Following approval by the Director or designee, the selected grant recipient will receive an award letter officially notifying them of their selection, the grant amount, and associated conditions and requirements.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Applicants:

  • Nonprofit
  • Public Agency
  • Tribal Government

A set-aside of at least $50 million will be made to support disadvantaged communities (DAC) and Native American Tribes (Tribes). 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.

Matching Funding Requirement:

No funding match is required for this Program; however, applicants are encouraged to use other fund sources to supplement the grant funds. Applicants are required to describe all other funding sources (actual and anticipated) necessary to complete the project.190

Important Dates

The date (and time, where applicable) by which all applications must be submitted to the grantmaker. Time listed as “00:00” equates to midnight.
The date on which the grantor expects to announce the recipient(s) of the grant.
February 2022
The length of time during which the grant money must be utilized.
by 6/30/2026

Funding Details

The total projected dollar amount of the grant.
A single grant opportunity may represent one or many awards. Some grantors may know in advance the exact number of awards to be given. Others may indicate a range. Some may wish to and wait until the application period closes before determining how many awards to offer; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Grant opportunities representing multiple awards may offer awards in the same amount or in varied amounts. Some may wish to wait until the application period closes before determining per-award amounts; in this case, a value of “Dependent” will display.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) provide a letter of intent.
Certain grants require that the recipient(s) be able to fully or partially match the grant award amount with another funding source.
The funding source allocated to fund the grant. It may be either State or Federal (or a combination of both), and be tied to a specific piece of legislation, a proposition, or a bond number.
  • State

Funding Source Notes:

Funding for the Program was authorized by the Legislature pursuant to the Budget Act of 2021 and its Trailer Bill, Assembly Bill 148; DWR was allocated $100 million for Urban Communities and $200 million for Multibenefit projects. DWR is combining a portion of the Urban Community and the Multibenefit Drought Relief Funding into a $200 Million program. Projects funded under Multibenefit do not need to be in an urban community.

The manner in which the grant funding will be delivered to the awardee. Funding methods include reimbursements (where the recipient spends out-of-pocket and is reimbursed by the grantor) and advances (where the recipient spends received grant funds directly).
  • Reimbursement(s)

Funding Method Notes:

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 of up to 25% of the grant award will be available to eligible applicants that can demonstrate difficulty with cash flow (See Appendix E in GL/PSP).

How to Apply

State agencies/departments recommend you read the full grant guidelines before applying.