NH Local Source Water Protection Grants

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

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Grant amount: Up to US $20,000

Anticipated deadline: Nov 1, 2020

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit For-Profit Business

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: New Hampshire

Location of residency: New Hampshire

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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is pleased to announce the availability of funds for Local Source Water Protection Grants. Specifically, grant money is available to develop and implement programs to protect existing (active or planned) sources of public drinking water. Since 1997, NHDES has made small grants to water suppliers, municipalities and other local organizations for the purpose of protecting drinking water sources.

The Drinking Water Source Protection Program’s goals include

  • increasing the number of public water supply sources with some form of protection and
  • increasing the level of protection for sources that are already protected.

Source Water Protection Program Elements

In order to be eligible, every project must contribute to improved protection of one or more public water supply sources. The following categories of project elements are not necessarily exhaustive. (Download the application guidelines here for complete descriptions of program elements)

  • Delineation - NHDES has completed source water protection area (SWPA) delineations for nearly all sources of water for community and non-community, non-transient public water systems.
    • SWPAs include wellhead protection areas (WHPAs) for groundwater sources and watershed areas for surface sources.
    • Grants can be used to refine SWPA delineations using additional site-specific information.
    • Grants can also be used to delineate more sensitive portions of SWPAs, such as time-of-travel zones, sensitive sub-watersheds and buffer areas or to refine existing aquifer mapping.
  • Assessment – Applications for assessment projects should explain how the project will support the implementation of source water protection measures and should convincingly demonstrate a high likelihood of implementation.
    • Inventory – Projects may involve improving upon existing inventories available from the NHDES Geographic Information System and the system-specific Drinking Water Source Assessment Reports prepared by NHDES, expanding the inventory of land uses or existing and potential point and non-point sources of contamination, establishing a water quality monitoring program or inventorying relevant local protection ordinances.
    • B) Evaluation – Projects may involve evaluating existing and potential threats to water quality, as well as existing protection measures. This may include prioritizing potential threats or protections based upon new or more detailed information. 
  • Planning – Grants can be used to identify appropriate protection measures, such as educational programs, programs to ensure implementation of best management practices (BMPs), local land use regulations, groundwater reclassification, adoption of source water protection rules under the provisions of RSA 485:23, land acquisition, etc.
  • Implementation - Grants can be used to implement protection and security measures in source water protection areas.
    • This can include implementation of any of the measures listed above under Planning, with the exception of land acquisition.
      • Grants can be used to prioritize lands for conservation but cannot be used to purchase lands or easements. 
      • Grants can be used for land transaction costs associated with permanent protection of SWPA lands, such as:
        • performing land surveys as a precursor to land acquisition,
        • associated legal and transaction costs (including required stewardship fees in accordance with a conservation organization’s written policy regarding such fees),
        • title opinion,
        • attorney fees,
        • baseline documentation and
        • stewardship plans.
      • Grants can also be used for source sustainability (e.g., preserving groundwater recharge) and “consumption-side” water conservation (e.g. community-based social marketing, customer audits, low-flow fixtures) but not for projects eligible for loans under the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, such as “system-side” conservation (e.g., leak detection, system audits and metering)
  • Security - Grants can be used to implement security measures, as long as the project protects the source itself. This can include fencing around wells or intakes. The fencing can include other buildings as well, as long as the source is part of the fenced-in area. 
    • Gates for well and intake access roads are eligible, along with access control for those areas.
    • Alarms, signs, cameras, locks and lights for sources are also eligible.  

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Who can apply:
    • Water Suppliers
    • Municipalities
    • Regional Planning Commissions
    • Non-profit Organizations
    • County Conservation Districts
    • State Agencies
    • Watershed Associations
    • Educational Institutions
  • Projects must address active or planned sources for public water systems.
    • Planned sources must have at least a preliminary well siting report (for groundwater sources) submitted to NHDES or have a conceptual plan (for surface water sources) submitted to NHDES.
  • Projects must address some component of a source water protection program
    • Examples are provided under OverviewSource Water Protection Program Elements.
  • Projects involving the collection, analysis or manipulation of environmental (e.g., water quality) data, if selected for funding, will require a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
    • The QAPP must be approved by NHDES and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prior to the commencement of this work.
  • Funds can be awarded only for work done after final approval of the grant agreement by the Governor and Council (G&C).


  • The scoring criteria are designed to favor projects that involve implementation or demonstrate a high likelihood of implementation. 
  • NHDES encourages projects that encompass a broader geographic scope (such as an aquifer, a watershed, a municipality or some other area) if multiple public water supply sources are included.
  • Local match funds are not required but are considered during application scoring.  


  • Projects that involve activities that are required under NHDES rules and regulations are not eligible (e.g., inventorying potential contamination sources as required under new well siting rules, Env-Dw 301).