Eligibility and Priorities Los Angeles Community Water Justice Grants Program


The applicant must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Projects Supported: Projects must be designed to benefit groundwater or surface water quality in the Los Angeles Region, including the coastal watersheds of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, along with very small portions of Kern and Santa Barbara. Click here for more information on the boundaries of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region, its watersheds, and its hydrologic units.
  • Applicant requirements: Projects must benefit underserved, vulnerable, or otherwise disadvantaged communities and should demonstrate a high degree of community support and community involvement. Projects that benefit public health in addition to water quality are especially encouraged.
  • Grant amount: Applicants are encouraged to seek grants ranging from $10,000 to $500,000. Your requested amount should not exceed 25% of your organization’s typical annual expenses. For multi-year projects, the project budget for one year should not be more than 25% of the organization’s annual budget.
  • Non-profit Status: Applicants must be a 501(c)3 organization, fiscally-sponsored by a 501(c)3, or a governmental or tribal entity.


The following general types of SEPs may be developed through this Program:

A. Public Health

Public health projects are drinking water projects that may help promote the goal of the human right to water in a community. Examples include, but are not limited to: providing replacement drinking water, installation of water tanks, drinking water distribution system infrastructure improvements or consolidation assistance, private well testing, and focused community outreach regarding drinking water safety. Drinking water-related SEPs are acceptable where the primary beneficiary of the project is the population that was harmed or put at risk by the violation(s).

B. Pollution Prevention

Pollution prevention projects prevent pollution at its source, before it is generated. Examples include, but are not limited to: practices that reduce the quantity and/or toxicity of pollutants entering a waste stream prior to treatment or disposal; equipment or technology modifications; process or procedure modifications; improvements in housekeeping, training, inventory control, best management practices, or other maintenance procedures; and projects which protect the water resources of the Los Angeles Regional Board’s jurisdiction through conservation or increased efficiency.

C. Pollution Reduction

Pollution reduction projects result in a decrease in the amount and/or toxicity of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise being released into the water resources of the Los Angeles Regional Board’s jurisdiction by an operating business or facility by a means which does not qualify as “pollution prevention.” Examples include, but are not limited to: installation of a more effective end-of-process control or treatment technology; stormwater low impact development installation such as “green streets”; improved containment; safer disposal of an existing pollutant source; and regional monitoring programs.

D. Environmental Restoration and Protection

Environmental restoration and protection projects include those that benefit surface or groundwater quality and enhance the condition of the ecosystem or immediate geographic area adversely affected by the violation. Examples include, but are not limited to: water or soil treatment; habitat restoration or enhancement; pollution prevention or reduction; wetland, stream, or other waterbody protection, restoration, or creation; conservation easements; stream flow or water quality augmentation; watershed management facilitation services; and non-point source program implementation.

E. Assessments and Audits

Assessment and audit projects may include pollution prevention assessments, environmental quality assessments, or compliance audits.

  • Pollution prevention assessments are systematic, internal reviews of specific processes and operations designed to identify and provide information about opportunities to reduce the use, production, and generation of toxic and hazardous materials and other wastes that may pose threats to water quality, water supply, or human health.
  • Environmental quality assessments are investigations of: the condition of the environment at a site not owned or operated by the responsible party; the environment impacted by a site or facility regardless if owned or operated by the responsible party; or threats to human health or the environment relating to a site or facility regardless if owned or operated by the responsible party.
  • Environmental compliance audits are independent evaluations of a responsible party’s compliance status with environmental requirements at a given point in time. In general, compliance audits are acceptable as SEPs only when the responsible party is a small business, small community (less than 2,500 persons), or a state or local government Entity. These assessments and audits are only acceptable as SEPs when the responsible party agrees to provide the Los Angeles Regional Board with a copy of the report and the results are made available to the public.

F. Environmental Compliance Promotion

An environmental compliance promotion project provides training or technical support to other members of the regulated community in order to: identify, achieve, and maintain compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements; or go beyond compliance by reducing the generation, release, or disposal of pollutants beyond legal requirements. Environmental compliance promotion SEPs are acceptable only where the primary impact of the project is focused on the same regulatory program requirements that were violated and where compliance in the sector would be significantly advanced by the proposed project.

G. Other

Projects that do not fit within one of the categories above, but have environmental and/or public health benefits and are otherwise fully consistent with all other provisions of the State Water Board’s SEP Policy may also be allowable if approved by the Los Angeles Regional Board. Examples may include, but are not limited to: public awareness projects including community outreach, education and assistance designed to encourage pollution reduction and/or water conservation to protect underserved, vulnerable, or otherwise disadvantaged community water sources and other water bodies, and development and delivery of watershed-oriented environmental education curriculum, or capital improvement projects that strongly benefit disadvantaged communities’ water infrastructure.


The following project activities may not be conducted with any SEP funds:

  • Lobbying
  • Litigation
  • Activities that specifically contradict a established agency or the State of California
  • Policy, including but not limited to the State Water Board’s Policy on SEPs
the content below is just for reference and will be deleted before launch