Focus On Water
Source Water Protection Grants Program

Approximately $150,000 per year is available to finance projects that protect public drinking water sources. Grant supported projects can include those that address drinking water quality, quantity, and/or education

Who is Eligible?
Political subdivisions, in Nebraska, that operate a public water system serving a population of 10,000 or less that can show financial hardship.

Matching Contribution Required
There is a 10% match requirement.

Who to Contact
Source Water Protection Grants Program (402) 471-6988.

Time Requirements
The invitation for proposals is typically released in early spring each year.

Supporting Regulations
Safe Drinking Water Act, Section 1452(k).

Other Requirements
General Projects
Types of projects that are eligible for funding include those that are associated with source water protection measures and will implement protection activities in existing source water protection areas, designated future source water protection areas, and in the associated communities. Community involvement and education, in how to protect and improve its drinking water source, is also a central theme in these grants.

Purely educational projects, without tangible action, will be discouraged.

Projects will be expected to provide long-term benefits to drinking water quality, and/or quantity, education. Types of projects that may be eligible for funding include only those that are directly associated with source water protection measures such as:
  • Public education
  • Water recycling and other conservation programs
  • Support for pollution prevention
  • Restoration and/or conservation of the source water protection area
  • Development of a Wellhead Protection, or Drinking Water Protection Managment Plan
  • Water quality monitoring at critical points in protection areas
  • Evaluations of agricultural practices and education on best management practices
  • Installation of signs at boundaries of zones or protection areas
  • Structures to divert contaminated runoff from the source
  • Closure of abandoned wells

Rather than providing the grant to complete one task such as well abandonment, it is preferred that grants be provided to help establish and develop comprehensive local source water protection programs. Source water protection programs are ongoing, locally designed voluntary efforts to protect drinking water sources used by community water systems. Grants can be used to develop a Wellhead Protection Plan but only in conjunction with a source water protection program.

Ineligible activities include those related to operations and maintenance of drinking water systems and water treatment; land purchases for the sole purpose of developing Wellhead or Watershed Protection Plan; and projects requesting only personnel expenses.

Funding Priority
The prioritization criteria are designed to target those projects and activities that are more diverse, far reaching and address a particular drinking water need in the State. For a current listing of prioritization criteria, please refer
to the Invitation for Source Water Grant Proposals.

The 1986 and 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act respectively created the Wellhead Protection and Source Water Assessment Programs. Many Nebraska communities are currently protecting their drinking water source with the help and guidance of these existing programs. With the opportunities provided by the Source Water Protection Grant Program, our tradition as a national leader in drinking water protection is being taken to the next level. Our past and future success can be attributed to the cooperative working relationships shared between NDEE and the Nebraska Health and Human Services System, Nebraska Rural Water Association, the Natural Resources Districts, and many other stakeholders.

Selection Process
Project proposals are reviewed by staff at NDEE, Nebraska Health and Human Services, Nebraska Rural Water Association, Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, and potentially other individuals and organizations. Projects recommended by the reviewers are subject to final selection by the NDEE Source Water Coordinator. Final recommendations will be forwarded to the Director of NDEE for approval. Items of consideration when selecting projects include:

  • Does the project have a clear source water protection focus?
  • Is commitment demonstrated by the water supplier and/or local government(s) to develop, implement, support and sustain a local Source Water Protection program after funding is received?
  • Do the proposed tasks address all categories of Source Water Protection: Quality, Quantity and Education?

For more information, please follow these links:

Invitation for 2023 Source Water Protection Proposals

Source Water Protection Grants Questions and Answers

Source Water Protection Projects Funded

Reporting Forms