Water Authority and regional service providers partner to help qualified households cover delinquent water bills
August, 2022 – The San Diego County Water Authority has helped secure financial aid for low-income water customers in the region to cover overdue residential water and wastewater bills. As part of its commitment to water affordability, the Water Authority is partnering with the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty of San Diego County (MAAC) and Campesinos Unidos, Inc. to provide outreach and education that ensures residents who are struggling economically are aware of this funding.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a federally funded program that offers one-time payments to cover outstanding residential water and/or wastewater bills. The federal government allocated $116 million to California to help households struggling to pay their water bills.
To participate in LIHWAP, customers must apply before August 2023 directly to MAAC or Campesinos, the local service providers selected by the state to implement the program in the San Diego region. LIHWAP will pay water-wastewater bills of up to $2,000. Qualified low-income households, including renters whose utility payments are included in their rent, are eligible for funds. Residents can determine their local service provider at www.csd.ca.gov/Pages/FindServicesInYourArea.aspx, by entering their city and locating their “water utility assistance provider.”
“Water affordability is one of the top priorities for the Water Authority, and we are committed to helping ensure that everyone in San Diego County has access to safe and reliable water,” said Water Authority General Manager Sandra L. Kerl. “In addition to securing this money for struggling families, we are advocating for state and federal agencies to cover more infrastructure costs, and we have given our member agencies more than $90 million from ratepayer protection lawsuits that we have won.”
The Water Authority led regional ratepayer advocacy efforts in Sacramento last year, working with State Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins and others to help water and energy customers who were overdue on their bills due to the financial impacts of COVID-19.
“The pandemic and the resulting economic crisis took a devastating toll on the communities we serve, straining their ability to afford basic needs like water,” said Arnulfo Manriquez, President and Chief Executive Officer of MAAC, one of the leading providers of comprehensive social services in San Diego County. “LIHWAP will ensure all San Diegans have equitable access to a basic human right – safe and affordable water. Furthermore, it opens an opportunity for individuals and families to manage their water utility costs and attain economic security. We are proud to partner with the Water Authority and Campesinos Unidos to ensure a brighter future for our community.”
MAAC is a nonprofit that serves 75,000 individuals every year in five key areas: Economic Development, Education, Health & Wellbeing, Housing, and Advocacy & Leadership Development. The organization works towards equity and justice for all communities throughout the region. It partners with individuals and families to address their immediate needs and provide them with the tools and resources to achieve economic mobility. More information is at https://maacproject.org/lihwap/.
Campesinos was incorporated as a private non-profit corporation to specifically promote greater social, economic, educational, and employment training opportunities for farm workers and other economically disadvantaged residents of the Imperial, Riverside and San Diego counties. More information is at https://campesinosunidos.org/water-program/.
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The San Diego County Water Authority sustains a $240 billion regional economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents through a multi-decade water supply diversification plan, major infrastructure investments and forward-thinking policies that promote fiscal and environmental responsibility. A public agency created in 1944, the Water Authority delivers wholesale water supplies to 24 retail water providers, including cities, special districts and a military base.