The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced the 2020 notice of funding availability under its Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program, including funding for the new State Water Infrastructure Financing Authority (SWIFIA) program. The announcement marks the fourth round of WIFIA funding.
The funding programs accelerate investment in critical water infrastructure through innovative and flexible financing that can support diverse projects in both large and small communities. According to the USEPA, the 2020 funding will support water infrastructure projects while creating more than 35,000 jobs and improving public health and environmental protection in communities across the country.
The notice of funding availability prioritizes construction-ready projects in three areas:
- Updating aging infrastructure
- Reducing exposure to lead and addressing emerging contaminants
- Water reuse and recycling
For the first time ever, USEPA will evaluate submitted projects using additional criteria developed to help clarify project and federal budgetary considerations. USEPA will accept letters of interest from prospective WIFIA borrowers through October 15, 2020 via the Federal Register.
USEPA is also providing up to $1 billion to borrowers under SWIFIA. The new program was authorized by Congress as part of the America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018. It offers low-interest loans to State water infrastructure programs, such as State Revolving Funds (SRF), that finance needed water infrastructure projects in local communities. USEPA will accept letters of interest through September 15, 2020 via the Federal Register.
WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:
- Drinking water treatment & distribution projects
- Wastewater conveyance & treatment projects
- Enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water & wastewater facilities
- Desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, & water recycling projects
- Drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects
USEPA will evaluate proposed projects described in the letters of interest using WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria as described in the notice of funding availability. Through this competitive process, projects will be selected and invited to continue the application process.