YOUR INPUT WANTED: Survey to inform upcoming DWR Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief program

From the Department of Water Resources:

DWR is conducting a survey to assess the needs and readiness of prospective grant applicants for the funding forthcoming DWR Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief program. This program will be managed separately from our recently announced Small Community Drought Relief program, but our programs will coordinate to ensure that proposals received through either solicitation would be shared with the other program if deemed to be a more appropriate funding source.

The information we receive from this survey will help us design the grant solicitation processes, a schedule, and a combined Guidelines/Proposal Solicitation Package(s) (PSP) for the Urban/Multibenefit Drought Program. In addition, this information will help us refine the schedule for releasing the Guidelines and PSP for the remaining Proposition 1 Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) funding.  We are seeking to run the two grant programs as concurrently as possible to give grant applicants choices about the best funding source for their projects.

The deadline for completing this survey is August 27.  Time is of the essence, so thank you for your prompt response. You can find the survey here. 

If you have any questions, please send them to


Governor Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for drought on April 21, 2021, to cover the counties most affected. On May 10, 2021 and July 8, 2021, the drought state of emergency was expanded to cover 50 counties of the State. The drought emergency proclamations directed state agencies to take immediate action to bolster drought resilience and prepare for impacts on communities, businesses, and ecosystems if dry conditions extend to a third year. 

As part of the drought relief financial assistance, $500 million was authorized for DWR by the Legislature pursuant to the Budget Act of 2021 (Stats. 2021, ch. 69, §112) and its Trailer Bill, Assembly Bill 148 (Stats. 2021, ch. The Trailer Bill 115, § 97) authorized DWR to make grants and direct expenditures for interim or immediate relief in response to conditions arising from a drought scenario to address immediate impacts on human health and safety and on fish and wildlife resources and to provide water to persons or communities that lose or are threatened with the loss or contamination of water supplies. 

Below is the breakdown of the $500 million in authorized funds for DWR: 

  • $100 million for Urban Community Drought Relief – addressed by this survey
  • $200 million for Multi-benefit Projects – addressed by this survey
  • $200 million for Small Community Drought Relief – being addressed separately

Key requirements, in conformance with AB-148, include: 

  • Eligible applicants must be in a county named in one of the Governor’s emergency drought proclamations or must be in an area determined by the State Water Resources Control Board where drought conditions necessitate urgent and immediate action. (a)(1), (2). Regardless of whether your project(s) are located in a county currently subject to a State declared emergency proclamation, we encourage you to complete and submit the survey.
  • Eligible projects must provide interim or immediate relief (c ) (1) 
  • The funding is only available until June 2026 and therefore projects must be completed by March 2026

The drought funding has been moving at a rapid pace and we understand many organizations may need clarification or have questions about the upcoming solicitation. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

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