Upcoming Water/Wastewater Funding Deadlines in New Mexico

Karen Perez

We continue our ongoing series spotlighting upcoming infrastructure funding opportunities, at both the state and federal levels. Read the previous posts: Coronavirus Exposes Long-Standing Infrastructure Funding Vulnerabilities and Avenues to Fund Your Infrastructure: FIF and CDBG.

Financing opportunities outside of traditional municipal bonds can be attractive, particularly for utilities in lower income, incorporated communities. Oftentimes these loans and grants go largely underutilized because of the perception that they require more effort in the application process. Here are some things you need to know about the major water/wastewater funding opportunities in New Mexico, all of which have upcoming application deadlines.

Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF)

Administered jointly by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA), this funding opportunity is a low interest, fixed rate loan. The interest rate depends on the type of applicant, with public disadvantaged water systems receiving a 0% interest rate, all the way up to private for-profit water systems receiving a 4% interest rate. Principal forgiveness (e.g. grant) is also available everywhere from 25% to 75%. Eligible projects include (but are not limited to) new and replacement water sources, treatment, transmission and distribution lines, storage, SCADA systems, and more.

Applications are accepted four times a year, with the most imminent deadline being October 1, 2020 (pushed back from August 1 due to COVID-19). Initial applications (called Project Interest Forms) can be submitted here.

Water Project Fund

Also administered by NMFA, this loan/grant combination requires some local match (20% or less), features a grant component of 10-40%, and offers an interest rate of 0.25%. Eligible projects include (but are not limited to) water conservation or recycling, treatment or reuse, flood prevention, water storage and conveyance, watershed restoration and management, and more. Applications are submitted to the Water Trust Board, and pre-applications are due in early October 2020 (this is their typical annual deadline but this might be affected by COVID-19).

Colonias Infrastructure Fund

Also administered by NMFA, this funding opportunity was created in 2010 to help certain communities in southern New Mexico that lack basic infrastructure for water and wastewater, solid waste disposal, flood and drainage control, roads and housing. It offers a 90% grant / 10% loan ratio for everything from planning to design to construction. Pre-applications are due in mid November 2020 (this is their typical annual deadline but this might be affected by COVID-19) and will be reviewed by the Colonias Infrastructure Board.

USDA Rural Development

USDA offers a number of funding opportunities for applicants in New Mexico and all over the country. Funding options such as USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program and Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program are popular in New Mexico, and applications are accepted year-round.

Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)

Similar to the DWSRF, this funding opportunity is also administered by NMED but is designed for wastewater systems. New Mexico’s CWSRF offers low interest loans, anywhere from 0% to 2.375%. Eligible projects include (but are not limited to) capital improvements to publicly owned wastewater treatment plants, measures reducing, treating or managing stormwater, energy reduction at publicly owned wastewater treatment plants, reuse or recycling of wastewater or stormwater, and more. Applications are accepted year-round.

Those October and November deadlines are just around the corner, so get started on your applications today! If you need any assistance, please contact me, Karen Perez, at karen.perez@freese.com or 915-213-0291.