Proposition 1 Groundwater Grant Program

California State Water Resources Control Board

Grant amount: US $100,000 - US $50,000,000

Anticipated deadline: Aug 3, 2019 5:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Government Entity Nonprofit Indigenous Group

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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Proposition 1 was passed by voters in November 2014 and provided $900 million for a Groundwater Sustainability Program (Assembly Bill 1471, Chapter 10). The State Water Board will administer $800 million to prevent and cleanup contamination of groundwater that serves (or has served) as a source of drinking water. The funds are available as grants.

Program Priorities

  • Leverage Funds – Priority will be given to projects that leverage private, federal, or local funding or produce the greatest public benefit (Water Code section 79707(b)).
  • Include New and Innovative Technology – Special consideration will be given to projects that employ new or innovative technology or practices, including decision support tools that support the integration of multiple jurisdictions, including, but not limited to, water supply, flood control, land use, and sanitation (Water Code section 79707(e)).
  • Proposition 1, Chapter 10 (Water Code section 79771(b)(1-5)) prioritization criteria:
    • The threat posed by groundwater contamination to the affected community’s overall drinking water supplies, including an urgent need for treatment of alternative supplies or increased water imports if groundwater is not available due to contamination.
    • The potential for groundwater contamination to spread and impair drinking water supply and water storage for nearby population areas.
    • The potential of the project, if fully implemented, to enhance local water supply reliability.
    • The potential of the project to maximize opportunities to recharge vulnerable, highuse groundwater basins and optimize groundwater supplies.
    • The project addresses contamination at a site for which the courts or the appropriate regulatory authority has not yet identified responsible parties, or where the identified responsible parties are unwilling or unable to pay for the total cost of cleanup, including water supply reliability improvement for critical urban water supplies in designated superfund areas with groundwater contamination listed on the National Priorities List established pursuant to Section 105(a)(8)(B) of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Section 9605(a)(8)(B)). 

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


  • Eligibility Requirements Established by the State Water Board for Implementation Projects
    • To be eligible for funding, implementation projects must meet the following requirements:
      • Consistent with the California Water Action Plan (CWAP), the project must achieve at least one or more of the following objectives:
        • Prevent the spread of contamination in an aquifer that serves or has served as a source of drinking water;
        • Accelerate the cleanup of contamination in an aquifer that serves or has served as a source of drinking water;
        • Protect an aquifer that serves as a source of drinking water; or
        • Provide clean drinking water to DACs or EDAs.
      • The project must be identified as a high priority by the applicable state or federal regulatory agencies (e.g. Regional Water Quality Control Board [Regional Water Board], State Water Board, Department of Toxic Substances Control [DTSC], the United States Environmental Protection Agency [U.S. EPA], and DWR).
      • The project must cleanup or prevent the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water.
      • The applicant must demonstrate the availability of funds for any match required and that the applicant has the capacity to pay for the ongoing operation and maintenance (O&M) of any facility funded (Water Code section 79774(c)).
      • The project must have a useful life of at least 20 years and the applicant must have established, or have a detailed plan for establishing, adequate rights of way for the useful life of the project
  • Eligible grant applicants are public agencies, non-profit organizations, public utilities, federally recognized Indian tribes, California Native American Tribes, and mutual water companies (Water Code section 79712(a-b)). 
  • Projects that are eligible to receive funds through the Groundwater Grant Program must:
    • Meet the purpose of Proposition 1 Chapter 10, Groundwater Sustainability, to prevent or cleanup the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water and meet the eligibility requirements and project preferences specified in Sections 2.2 and 2.3.
    • Be consistent with water quality protection requirements outlined in Division 7 (commencing with section 13000) of the Water Code, and with applicable Regional Water Board and State Water Board policies, permits, and orders (such as Antidegradation Policy, Salt and Nutrient Management Planning, 97-005 Policy Guidance for Direct Domestic Use of Extremely Impaired Sources, Resolution 92-49 Policies and Procedures for Investigation and Cleanup and Abatement of Discharges).
      • The applicant is expected to consult with the local Regional Water Board and Division of Drinking Water (DDW) district office, prior to submitting their Full Proposal, to ensure that their project is consistent with Water Board policies, permits, and orders and to identify any permits that may be required.
    • Be consistent with Section 13100 of the Government Code relating to state infrastructure funding plans (Water Code section 79707(h)).
      • The applicant is expected to provide a description in its application of how the proposed project is consistent with the applicable sections of the Governor’s Five-Year Infrastructure Plan.
    • Promote state planning priorities and sustainable community strategies (consistent with Sections 65041.1 and 65080 of the Government Code, respectively) (Water Code section 79707(i)).
      • The applicant is expected to provide a description in its application of how the proposed project is consistent with the applicable sections of Government Code Sections 65041.1 and 65080, and the applicable components of the local regional transit plan (if such a plan is available). 
  • The general types of projects eligible for funding are described below. See details here.
    • Planning and Monitoring Projects
    • Implementation Projects
    • Drinking Water Treatment Projects
    • Septic-to-Sewer Projects
    • Contaminants


  • Project Preferences Established by the State Water Board for Implementation Projects
    • In its evaluation of projects, the State Water Board will give higher scores to projects that effectively address the following project preferences:
      • Human Right to Water – the project supports and advances the State’s policy on the human right to water, including any resolutions or policies adopted by the State Water Board.
      • Community Benefit – the project benefits the largest number of people per dollar spent considering the size of the community in which the project is located.
      • Contaminant Removal Efficiency – the project removes the most contamination at the lowest cost.
      • Timeliness for Project Completion – the project can be completed within the appropriation time frame.
      • Promote Groundwater Sustainability – the project supports attainment of the goals of and is identified in an approved Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP)2 or the project is consistent with the applicable court decree in an adjudicated basin.
      • Demonstrated Ability – the applicant has demonstrated the ability to complete similar projects or previous phases of the overall cleanup effort on time and within scope and budget.
      • Regional Project – the project is identified in the applicable integrated regional water management plan (Water Code section 10544), or other relevant regional plans such as a Salt and Nutrient Management Plan.
      • Public Health Risk/Benefit – the project provides a quantifiable reduction in an existing risk to public health.
      • Multiple Benefits – the project is designed to address more than one Proposition 1 prioritization criteria; more than one CWAP objective identified in Section 2.2.1; or is an integrated part of a groundwater recharge program.


  • Proposition 1 Groundwater Grant Program funds cannot be used for the following items:
    • Projects that do not meet the purpose of Proposition 1 Chapter 10, Groundwater Sustainability.
    • Any project that could adversely impact a wild and scenic river, or any other river, afforded protection under the (Water Code section 79711(e)).
    • Acquisition of land through eminent domain (Water Code section 79711(g)). 
    • Design, construction, operation, mitigation, or maintenance of Delta conveyance facilities (Water Code section 79710).
    • Acquisition of water except for projects that will provide fisheries or ecosystem benefits or improvements that are greater than required applicable environmental mitigation measures or compliance obligations in effect at the time the funds are made available for the project (Water Code section 79709(c)).
    • To pay any share of the costs of remediation recovered from parties responsible for the contamination of a groundwater storage aquifer (funds may be used to pay costs that cannot be recovered from responsible parties (Water Code section 79771(c)).
    • Ineligible monitoring or planning projects, including, but not limited to, monitoring, planning, or modeling efforts that are not necessary to design and build an eligible implementation project.
    • Ineligible implementation activities, including, but not limited to, projects or tasks that:
      • fund ongoing O&M;
      • avoid, but do not prevent or cleanup, the groundwater contamination (e.g., drilling a new supply well in a part of the aquifer that is not contaminated; blending to reduce contaminant concentrations);
      • repair/replace drinking water infrastructure that would be necessary even in the absence of groundwater contamination.
    • Overhead or costs not directly related to the project (see Reimbursement of Costs Section 10.15)
    • State or federal taxes.