Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA): The Largest-Ever Investment in the Nation’s Water Infrastructure

There’s a lot to parse about the dollars that are going to flow to communities nationwide from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Some funds will be made available via competitive grant programs.

If you’re looking for water infrastructure funding, focus on these top four options:

  • Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Program (BRIC)
    The existing FEMA BRIC program will distribute $1 billion to support communities undertaking hazard mitigation projects to reduce the risks they face from disasters and other natural hazards. Communities will apply as sub-applicants under their states. Applications for FY22 are expected to open no later than September 30, 2022.
  • Flood Mitigation Assistance
    $3.5 billion from this existing FEMA program can be used for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. Communities will apply as sub-applicants under their states. Applications for FY22 are expected to open no later than September 30, 2022.
  • Water & Groundwater Storage and Conveyance
    This existing $1 billion program at the Department of Interior provides funding for water storage projects with capacity between 2,000 and 30,000 acre-feet – as well as projects that convey water to or from surface water or groundwater storage. The Department will hold its final stakeholder sessions this month and open applications later this spring.
  • Emergency Watershed Protection Program
    This existing Department of Agriculture program will provide $300 million in technical and financial assistance to project sponsors for the design and construction of measures to help repair damages from a recent disaster. Applications open in February.

Also, keep these other three grants on your radar. If your water project includes a renewable energy component, for example, you may be able to fund that part of your project using one of these grants:

  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants
    This Department of Energy block grant program will provide $550 million to states, local governments, and tribes for projects that reduce energy use, increase energy efficiency, and cut pollution. The first funding opportunity is expected for release in the Fall of 2022.
  • Energy Improvement in Rural or Remote Areas
    This new Department of Energy program will provide $1 billion to entities in rural or remote areas to increase environmental protection from the impacts of energy use and improve resilience, reliability, safety, and availability of energy. For this program, rural/remote is defined as cities, towns, or unincorporated areas with fewer than 10,000 people. Applications for funding are expected to be open in Fall 2022.
  • Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program
    This new $1 billion program at the Department of Agriculture will provide grants to communities at risk from wildfire to develop or revise their community wildfire protection plans and carry out projects described within those plans. It will include a mix of formula and competitive funds. Applications are expected to open early in 2023.

As you can see, there’s a lot happening. The agencies are scrambling to open and announce grant opportunities as quickly as they can. Keep in touch with Dig Deep so you can be among the first to know when grant opportunities open up.