Low Income Household Water Assistance Program


The objective of the Low Income Household Water Assistance program is to meet unprecedented water services needs that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is meant to be an emergency program that provides quick intervention to help the people facing the high water/wastewater costs compared to their income in resuming and/or maintaining their home water/wastewater services. The benefits are limited to households with low income, particularly those that pay a high proportion of household income for drinking water and wastewater services, by providing funds to owners or operators of public water systems or treatment works to reduce arrearages of and rates charged to eligible households. Low income is defined in the federal rules as the greater of 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or 60% of State Median Income; however, each recipient (state/tribe/territory) may prescribe a lower cut-off. Recipients can also decide a households eligibility based on categorical eligibility of a household member, meaning someone in the household is already receiving another type of qualifying public assistance such as from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The intent to is provide financial assistance to cover water, wastewater and related services and fees. The priority is to provide assistance first and foremost to households that face the most immediate needhouseholds whose services are already disconnected. The benefit payment and/or interventions shall be sufficient to ensure restoration of the water/wastewater services. The benefits can pay any relevant arrearage (past due amount) that is preventing service from being reconnected, as well as any related late fee, reconnection fee, penalty, etc., that is billed in normal course of billing by the water/wastewater provider to any household that has a past due balance. The last priority for assistance is for households that have service and only need help with current bills, e.g., do not have past due balances.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Administration For Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
A - Formula Grants
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2021 199 awards were made to states, tribes, and territories.
Fiscal Year 2022 LIHWAP was able to assist over 429K households in FY2022, including over 299K households who had services restored or disconnection prevented, thus ensuring access to in home water and wastewater service.
Fiscal Year 2023 In Q3 of FY2023, LIHWAP crossed the threshold of serving over 1,000,000 total households across all program years. No additional awards are expected.
Public Law 117-2, American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Section 2912
Public Law 116-260, The Consolidated Appropriation Act, 2021, Section 533
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
LIHWAP is closely modeled after the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) therefore LIHWAP recipients administer LIHWAP benefits through many of the same mechanisms that are used to provide LIHEAP benefits to households. As a result, LIHWAP eligibility is limited to states, territories and tribes that implemented LIHEAP during FY 2021.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Households with incomes up to the greater of 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) or 60 percent of the estimated State median income (SMI) are eligible for benefits. Recipients may establish lower income eligibility levels, but they may not set the limit below 110 percent of FPG.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is required. This program is eligible for coverage under E.O. 12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." An applicant should consult the office or official designated as the single point of contact in his or her State for more information on the process the State requires to be followed in applying for assistance, if the State has selected the program for review.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. The governor's office within each state and U.S. territory and the chief executives of tribes that currently receives LIHEAP awards must identify a responsible governmental official, who will be empowered by the governor to submit a recipient Plan and to sign any required certifications and the Terms and Conditions.
Award Procedure
Award amounts are determined based on a formula calculation described in the appropriation legislation. For example, there is a 3% set aside for all tribal recipients and the distribution among tribal recipients relates to estimates of income eligible households and housing costs in each tribal recipient service area. There is also a set-aside and methodology for all five territories which mirrors the LIHEAP distribution. State award amounts are based on estimates of the percentage of households with incomes at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and the percentage of households that spend more than 30% of their monthly income on housing costs. ACF receives, reviews and accepts applicant Plans and related documents. ACF calculates the funding amount and issues an electronic Notice of Award (NOA) letter to each recipient. A total of two NOAs will be issued to each recipient, one NOA for each funding source (P.L. 116-260 and P.L. 117-2).
Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Total award amounts were communicated in writing to recipients beginning May 28, 2021, along with the release of 15% of each NOA for administrative costs. Access to the remaining funds in the Payment Management System (PMS) was provided upon acceptance of the recipient's LIHWAP Implementation Plan.
There is no appeal process for unsuccessful applicants. For existing recipients, appeals in regards to disputes may take place in accordance with 45 CFR Part 16, subject to the limitations of the Appendix A.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Criteria pertinent to LIHWAP are announced in an Action Transmittal to eligible entities, see for example: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/policy-guidance/lihwap-2021-09-model-plan-final-fy2021
How may assistance be used?
Funds are awarded to States, eligible Tribes and Tribal Organizations, and Territories, which then make payments directly to owners and operators of public water systems or treatment works to reduce rates and arrearages for eligible, low-income households to meet costs for drinking water and wastewater. Benefit payments will be determined from applications submitted by eligible households. Recipients must ensure that benefits are made according to the following priority groups: (1) households with disconnected water/wastewater services, (2) households facing an imminent disconnection of water/wastewater services, (3) households with current bill amounts due (no arrearages). Benefit payments must be made to the household’s water or wastewater provider (utility company)—not directly to the household.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Recipients are required to submit information on executive total compensation for the prime recipient and subawards, as required by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, 2 CFR Part 170. Recipients must submit an annual report that will address the following: the number of households assisted, including the type of assistance received (restoration of services, prevention of disconnection, rate reduction); number of households assisted by poverty interval; the number of households that are served that have members who are elderly, disabled, or young children; the number of household members assisted by race, ethnicity, gender; the amount of funds that went to benefits vs. administrative costs vs outreach; average amount of assistance per household; and, performance measures that target households with high water bill burdens and the reduction of the average water bill burden for assisted households.
45 CFR Part 75 Subpart F applies to this program.
All records are to be maintained in accordance with 45 CFR 75.361-365.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 funds must be awarded by September 30, 2021. Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 funds and American Rescue Plan funds must be obligated by recipients by September 30, 2023. Recipients must expend/liquidate the funds by December 31, 2023. Recipients who request and are approved for a no-cost extension may obligate funds until March 31, 2024, and expend/liquidate funds by June 30, 2024. Method of awarding/releasing assistance: Lump.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
Headquarters Office
Christina Clark
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families,
Office of Community Services,
Division of Energy Assistance,
330 C St SW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20201 US
Phone: 2024015399
Fax: 2024015661

Mary Watts
Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, Division of Energy Assistance, 330 C St SW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20201 USA
Phone: 2027303144
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Formula Grants) FY 22$2,271,517.00; FY 23 est $4,487,124.00; FY 24 est $0.00; FY 21$490,228,483.00; FY 20$0.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
In FY2021, $609,290,000 was awarded to States, $19,140,000 awarded to Tribes, $3,190,000 awarded to territories, and $6,380,000 set aside for program support/administration. The average award to primary recipients in FY 2021 was $5,178,593. The estimated range in direct awards (depending on total funding) is approximately $10,000 to $116,496,312. No additional funding was awarded in FY2022.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Not applicable.


Federal Grants Resources