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Rural Programs

Funding Sources

State and Federal agencies, foundations and private organizations may be a potential source to provide funding to qualifying groups and local goverments within rural areas.  The following list represents entities that have contributed funds in the past, and that may have programs to offer assistance to rural watershed groups and partnerships for specific studies and projects.

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR)

ADWR oversees Statewide Planning and Rural Water Studies.  The Rural Water Studies fund was established to assist Rural Arizona Watershed partnerships and watershed groups with the funding of projects and studies pertaining to the understanding, planning, management, and enhancement of water supplies in rural Arizona.  Funding is authorized annually by the State Legislature.  Requests for funding are reviewed by the Department when funds are available.  Watershed partnerships and/or watershed groups include local stakeholders and representatives of resource and regulatory agencies that are active in rural areas.

For additional information, please contact ADWR, Statewide Planning

Arizona Water Protection Fund (AWPF)

This Fund, which is administered by the director of ADWR and the State Land Commissioner, is earmarked for supporting projects that will enhance riparian areas.  The authorizing legislation calls for "a coordinated effort for the restoration and conservation of the water resources of this state.  This policy is designed to allow the people of this state to prosper while protecting and restoring this state's rivers and streams and associated riparian habitats, including fish and wildlife resources that are dependent on these important habitats (Title 45, Chapter 12)."  Like the Rural Water Studies Fund, the Arizona Water Protection Fund is funded by the State Legislature.  The available funding and grant cycle varies each year.

For information regarding the AWPF, please visit

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ)

ADEQ oversees the Water Quality Improvement Grant Program.  The grant program allocates money from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to interested parties for implementation of nonpoint source management and watershed protection.  The distribution of grant funds from EPA is provided pursuant to Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act and administered by the ADEQ Water Quality Division.

ADEQ uses these federal funds to implement on-the-ground water quality improvement projects to control nonpoint source pollution. Nonpoint source pollution is polluted runoff from many different sources and remains the nation's largest source of water quality problems.  Pollution occurs when rainfall, snowmelt or irrigation runs over land or through the ground, picks up pollutants and deposits them into rivers, lakes and coastal waters or introduces them into ground water.  Agriculture, forestry, grazing, septic systems, recreational boating, urban runoff, construction, physical changes to stream channels and habitat degradation are potential sources.

For information regarding the 319(h) grant, please visit

Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission Heritage Fund expends monies for conservation of sensitive wildlife and sensitive wildlife habitat in accordance to sub-program percentages as specified in Title 17, Chapter 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, Article 6.  The following sub-programs are included in the Heritage Fund Program:

  • IIPAM - Identification, Inventory, Acquisition, Protection and Management of Sensitive Habitats
  • Urban Wildlife and Urban Habitat
  • Public Access
  • Environmental Education
  • Schoolyard Grants
  For information regarding the Heritage Fund, please visit

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

This Federal agency has numerous funds with relation to water.  Some of those funds are:

  • American Heritage Rivers Initiative- provides help to communities to restore and revitalize waters and waterfronts, integrating the economic, environmental and historic preservation programs and services of federal agencies to benefit communities engaged in efforts to protect their rivers.
  • Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Programs- a collection of information about efforts to educate and communicate about water issues.
  • Wastewater Management- access a range of programs contributing to the well-being of our nation's waters and watersheds.
  • Water Efficiency- EPA's water efficiency program, Water Alliances for Voluntary Efficiency (WAVE), publications and related water conservation information.
  • Water Quality Standards, Criteria and Methods- this program is responsible for developing sound, scientifically defensible standards, criteria, advisories, guidelines, limitations and standards guidelines for the Office of Water.
  • Watershed Management- this program encourages solutions to water quality and ecosystem problems at the watershed level rather than at the individual waterbody or discharger level.
  • Wetlands Program- encourages and enables others to act effectively in protecting and restoring the nation's wetlands and associated ecosystems.
  • National Estuary Program- information about this effort to protect and restore the health of estuaries while supporting economic and recreational activities.
  • Nonpoint Source Pollution Control- access information about polluted runoff and exchange information about methods for reducing the affects of this environmental issue.
  • Clean Lakes Program- information about the quality of America's lakes and technical resources for management of lakes.
For information regarding EPA water project and program funds, please visit

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife program creates, restores and protects wildlife habitat on private, Tribal, county, and other non-federal lands. Partners funds can only be used for the on-the-ground projects and must benefit a Federal trust species such as endangered species, waterfowl, shorebirds, or migratory birds.

For information, please visit

Turner Foundation

The objective of the Turner Foundation is to protect rivers, lakes, wetlands, aquifers, oceans and other water systems from contamination, degradation, and other abuses.

For information, please visit

Some additional websites for possible grants:

U.S. Department of Agriculture - Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program (NRCS)

U.S. Department of the Interior - Land and Water Conservation Fund Grants to States (NPS)

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation



Hydrology Division Navigation Links

Use the above links to navigate the Hydrology Division