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A state program to help low-income people pay the water bill is not being used

The state of Delaware has a program to give money to people who can’t pay their water bills, but no municipalities are participating in the program.


The Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund are federal programs funneling money into local communities to improve water infrastructure.


Delaware has a program that would use some of these funds to provide financial support to low-income households struggling to pay the water bill, but officials say the program is not being used.


The program caps grants available to Delaware municipalities at $200,000—each meant to assist 200 to 400 low-income accounts for drinking water and wastewater services.  


Under the program a single household would receive between $200 to $400 a year for five years. Eligibility is determined by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Bolck Grant (CDBG) state low income levels.


The program is currently designed to assist only municipalities that own their own water system, even though some towns in Delaware get their water from private companies. But officials say this detail could be reworked.


The state held a public workshop to discuss grant opportunities for water infrastructure projects Thursday.


Notices-of-Intent (NOI) for wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and related infrastructure projects by municipalities are due next month.