The N.C. State Water Infrastructure Authority was created in 2013 to assess and make recommendations concerning the State’s water and wastewater infrastructure needs and award funding. The Authority recently released the 2017 Master Plan for North Carolina’s water and wastewater infrastructure.

The Master Plan is designed as a resource for owners and operators of water and wastewater utilities and systems that serve the public. It identifies best practices for utility management and identifies federal and state water infrastructure funding opportunities. Long-term planning is among the key elements identified in the Master Plan to successful management of public water and wastewater utilities.

The Master Plan estimates that the infrastructure needs in North Carolina over the next 20 years are between $17 billion and $26 billion. As Federal and State grant funding has decreased significantly over the years, only 7% of drinking water needs and 8% of wastewater needs are estimated to be funded by grants in 2017-2018, leaving 93% and 92% respectively to be funded by the utility providers. About 1/3 of the community water systems in N.C. serve 100 people or less. This large number of small water systems and wastewater treatment plants present unique challenges in paying for improvements, including limited revenue and a small customer base.

The Authority is responsible for administering grant funding and loans, with assistance from the N.C. Division of Water Infrastructure, and will be accepting applications for a new round of funding until September 29, 2017. There will be seven trainings offered by the Division of Water Infrastructure across the State in the coming weeks to assist in the application process for the following funding programs:

  • Connect NC Bonds which provides loans and grants for water and wastewater projects
  • State Reserve Program which funds both wastewater and drinking water projects
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund which funds wastewater and green projects. This fund is available to all local government units and non-profit water corporations and offers low-interest loans up to $30M per applicant
  • Drinking Water State Revolving Fund which funds drinking water projects to local government unites, non-profit and for-profit water corporations and offers low-interest loans up to $20M per applicant
  • Community Development Block Grant for Infrastructure funds wastewater and drinking water projects. This program is available to counties and municipalities and offers grants up to $2M per applicant every 3 years.

For training dates and registration information: http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=80789bf9-6cd8-4de0-9298-95951c3bbf35&groupId=14655572.

For more information about funding opportunities and the application process: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wi/application-information