Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Drinking Water Program
The SAFER program supports permanent and sustainable drinking water solutions that ensure all Californians have access to safe, affordable, and reliable drinking water.
The primary purpose of the SAFER program is to bring true environmental justice to California and address the continuing disproportionate environmental burdens in the state by creating a fund that will assist in providing safe drinking water in every California community, for every Californian. SAFER funds will help water systems provide a safe, accessible, and affordable supply of drinking water to communities in both the near and long terms by accelerating implementation of short- and long-term drinking water solutions, moving water systems to more efficient modes of operation, providing short-term operation and maintenance support as a bridge until long-term sustainable solutions are in place, and providing long-term operation and maintenance support when necessary.
The program was established from the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund through Senate Bill 200 (SB200) in 2019. The Fund will provide $130 million per year that will be used to ensure that one million Californians who currently lack safe drinking water receive safe & affordable drinking water as quickly as possible. The SAFER program also aims to reach sustainable operations for all of the state’s drinking water systems and is a critical element for achieving the goals of safe, accessible, and affordable water for all Californians.
Projects and/or services that are eligible for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Funds must address: 1) existing or potential water quality compliance issues; 2) Technical, Managerial, or Financial capacity deficiencies that prevent a system from sustainably providing safe and affordable drinking water; and 3) improvements to public water systems, community water systems, state small water systems and domestic wells that are in violation or considered at-risk.