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WIIN Act Section 2104: Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Tribal Grant Program

Section 2104 of the WIIN Act authorizes a new tribal grant program to assist tribal public water systems in underserved, small and disadvantaged communities to meet and comply with the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). 

EPA Announces $20 Million to Improve Access to Drinking Water in Tribal Communities

On November 12, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) announced that it will dedicate more than $20 million in infrastructure funding to projects that will improve access to safe drinking water for American Indian and Alaska Native populations. This funding will significantly boost public health protections for these communities by improving their ability to obtain safe water for drinking, cooking, and handwashing.

EPA is committed to ensuring that all Americans, including tribal communities are provided sustainable, long-term access to safe drinking water. This funding is available under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act’s Small and Disadvantaged Community program. For the 2020 round of funding, EPA is focusing on access to safe drinking water in underserved communities. Current Indian Health Service (IHS) data indicates that tribal populations lack of access to drinking water at far greater numbers than non-tribal populations. Consistent with the goals of the Federal Infrastructure Task Force to Improve Access to Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation to Tribal Communities, EPA anticipates funding projects in tribal communities with the greatest need for access to drinking water, which include Alaska Native Villages, the Navajo Nation, and tribal populations in New York.

Additionally, this week EPA announced hotit will distribute $4.3 million under the seperate WIIN Act Lead Testing in School and ChildCare Program Drinking Water Tribal Grant Program. This funding will be used to help protect children in tribal communities from lead in drinking water at schools and childcare facilities.

Additional Resources

Eligible Activities

Assistance under this program will support projects or activities that increase the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of a public water system and may include training, technical assistance, or infrastructure projects. Projects that receive assistance under this program may include:

  • Investments necessary for a public water system to comply with the SDWA.
  • Efforts that benefit a small or disadvantaged community on a per household basis.
  • Programs to provide household water quality testing, including testing for unregulated contaminants.
  • Activities necessary and appropriate to respond to a contaminant.

Funding under this program cannot be used for operation and maintenance purposes or for routine compliance monitoring.

Eligible Beneficiaries

This grant program makes assistance available to public water systems that serve tribal communities that are determined to be small or disadvantaged as specified under the guidelines of the grant program.