Nevada Water Conservation and Infrastructure Initiative
The Nevada Legislature has allocated $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) infrastructure funds to the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. To allocate the funds, the Nevada Water Conservation and Infrastructure Initiative (NWCII) was established.
The NWCII provides grant funding for the following types of projects:
This list is not inclusive of all eligible projects. Please review the Department of Treasury Rules website for additional eligibility requirements.
Drinking Water, Sewer, and Stormwater Project Guidelines:
- Project applications must be received through the Nevada Water Infrastructure Finance System by August 8, 2023, at 10:00 AM.
- Projects eligible to apply for Nevada State Revolving Fund (SRF) funding are eligible to apply for these ARPA funds, regardless of if they apply for SRF funding or not.
- Grants awarded through the NWCII will only be issued as reimbursement grants.
- Preliminary Engineering report projects are not eligible. Projects in the research phase are not eligible.
- Projects must be ready to proceed soon after funding approval. Funding must be obligated by December 2024. Projects must be completed prior to December 2026. If funding deadlines are not met, grants will be withdrawn.
- The application process will involve completing an online application on the Nevada Infrastructure Financial System (NIFS) website. Additionally, applicants will be responsible for providing supporting documents like cost estimates, engineering, and environmental reports.
- Additional rules and guidance can be found at the Department of Treasury Rules website.
- Some federal grant rules have been waived for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) being awarded through the NWCII. Please see U.S. Treasury Rules for specific guidance on compliance items and triggers that remove active waivers of certain rules.
NOTE: Treasury Rules triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Using another federal funding source
- Capital projects exceeding $10 million in SLFRF funding
Water Rights Retirement Guidelines:
The NWCII will provide up to $25 million in grant funds for projects that implement strategic and innovative water retirement programs in ground water basins that are over-appropriated. Prospective grant applications should demonstrate effective and scalable programs for the retirement of ground water rights in over-appropriated ground water basins. Applications for ground water retirement programs must be submitted by October 2, 2023 at 10:00 AM.
These criteria will be used in the selection and prioritization process, but should not be construed as a barrier to an application or an exclusive list.
Grant awards will be prioritized for the purpose of purchasing and retiring water rights in groundwater basins (1) where there is an insufficient supply of water available to serve all vested rights, claims of vested rights, permits, certificates, and protectable interests in domestic wells in the basin; and (2) to address and avoid conflicts with existing rights or detriments to the public interest, including, without limitation, detriments to the natural resources of this State.
- Only registered nonprofits, tribal nations, and political subdivisions of the State of Nevada may apply for program funding.
- Funding is only available to purchase and retire water rights from persons willing to sell. No eminent domain transfers will be reviewed for consideration.
- Funding will only be provided for groundwater basins where groundwater withdrawals currently exceed the available supply of water as a result of the consistent use of certificated or permitted rights to appropriate water.
- Funding is only available to address known conflicts with existing rights or detriments to the natural resources of the State.
- All water rights purchased with an NWCII grant must be retired through withdraw or relinquishment.
- Priority shall be given to projects that purchase water rights that are in regular use and result in a demonstrated reduction of consumptive use.
- Projects that purchase water rights in hydrographic basins that have a State Engineer’s Order that limits new appropriations. This includes prioritization of basins with county ordinances that require relinquishment or water rights to drill a domestic well.
- Projects should provide a formula or methodology for the valuation of water right purchases in a hydrographic basin.
- Projects that purchase water rights must obtain a signed affidavit from a willing seller attesting the seller is the rightful owner of the water rights and the seller is able to sell the water rights free and clear.
- Priority will be given to projects that provide a plan for the mitigation of noxious weeds or environmental impacts due to the retirement of water rights.
- Projects may utilize up to 10% of their grant award for administrative costs.
- Projects must submit a list of prospective ground water sales by February 1, 2024.
- Projects must acquire water rights or enter into a contractual relationship for the transfer of water rights by September 30, 2024. Funds not committed by the September 30, 2024 deadline will be reapportioned by the NWCII.
Submitting An Application:
To create a NIFS Account, or access the ARPA Application using an existing NIFS Account, follow this link to access the NIFS System. Once you have a user profile contact NWCII@dcnr.nv.gov for the administrator to give your entity access to the NWCII ARPA Application in NIFS. Please note that once an application has been started, only one individual from your organization can view the application until it has been submitted.
If you have any questions, please email program staff at NWCII@dcnr.nv.gov, or call:
Conserve Nevada Program Manager