Newsletter #23 for December 9, 2015
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USDA Awards Tribes $4 Million for Water Projects

A church and several homes on the Hoopa Reservation in California will once again have reliable access to water thanks to a pipeline running from a creek on Yurok Tribe land. Work on the project began in 2010 when it became clear that the spring that had previously supplied water to the area would be rendered useless by the worsening drought. But efforts to complete the pipeline took a huge step forward in November after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was one of six tribal projects awarded an Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant. 

The majority of the grants went to tribes in California struggling with drought. In addition to the Yurok Tribe, Big Sandy Rancheria, the Cortina Band of Wintun Indians—which was awarded two grants—and the Grindstone Indian Rancheria received money for projects that will improve community drought management. The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota was also chosen for a grant/loan for water system improvements. 

The Emergency Community Water Assistant Grant program helps lower-income rural and tribal communities prepare for, or recover from, emergencies that threaten access to safe, reliable drinking water, including drought, tornadoes, disease outbreaks, and chemical spills. Applications are accepted year round through local USDA Rural Development offices.   

The program is one of many grant, loan, and loan guarantee programs available for tribal utilities. Visit our Tribal Assistance Providers page for information on federal, regional, and tribal organizations with programs that support water and wastewater investment. But finding available grant and loan programs is only half the battle. Writing a successful grant can be difficult, especially when time and staff are limited.

Fortunately, there are resources to help you master the art of grant writing. 
This 43-slide presentation from the Native Learning Center is intended to help tribal nonprofits diagnose their organization’s potential for success and readiness to seek grant and foundation funding. Colorado's 50 Tips on How to Write Grant Proposals also provides tips for improving your writing procedure, as well as grant content and style. And be sure to check out the upcoming Grant Writing 101 webinar hosted by the Native Learning Center (see below for details). 

Click here to read more about latest Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant awards

Events for Tribal Water Systems

Water Distribution
December 15 | Anchorage, Alaska
Hosted by Indian Heal Service

This hands-on course teaches operators repair techniques and operating characteristics of common water and sewer equipment including valves, hydrants, piping, and pressure regulators.  | Click here for more information.

Grant Writing 101
December 16, 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Hosted by Native Learning Center

Staff from tribes, tribal departments, and Native nonprofit organizations should join this webinar for an introduction to the grant writing process.Participants will learn about strategies to assess their funding needs and research techniques to identify appropriate funding sources. | Click here for more information.

Introduction to Cartography
January 1-7 | Lakewood, Colorado
Hosted by Bureau of Indian Affairs

This course is a four-day technical course emphasizes the advanced techniques involved in effectively communicating the results of geospatial analysis through paper map production, as well as through a variety of digital representations. Click here for more information.
Want to find additional training opportunities for operators,
including events in your area?
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Featured Resource

Security Vulnerability Self-Assessment Guide for Tribal Drinking Water Systems
Evergreen Rural Water of Washington and U.S. EPA

This 27-page document is designed to help small water systems determine possible vulnerable components and identify security measures that should be considered. A “vulnerability assessment” is the identification of weaknesses in water system security, focusing on defined threats that could compromise its ability to provide adequate potable water, and/or water for firefighting. This document is designed particularly for systems that serve populations of 3,300 or less. 

Click here to download.
Have a different question?
You can find thousands of helpful resources in our database.
Search the Document Database

In the News

The Hopi Man Who Runs to Protect His Tribe's Water
This opinion piece highlights the story of long-distance runner Bucky Preston, who is drawing attention to what he considers unacceptable uses of water. 

Cowlitz Tribe Submits Sewage Treatment Plan for Casino
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe in Washington is seeking U.S. EPA approval for an innovative plan to filter 400,000 gallons of casino water through a membrane bioreactor system before pumping it deep into the ground daily. 

Tribe Releases Data on Toxic Spill Damages
The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture estimates that farmers from the Shiprock and Tsé Daa K’aan chapters will suffer $569,700 in damages over the next five years as a result of the August Gold King Mine Spill. 

Maine Accuses EPA of Double Standard for Tribal Water Quality
The Maine Attorney General's Office has asked a federal court to overturn U.S. EPA's February rejection of water quality criteria for waters that flow through tribal areas. The case could ultimately determine who sets environmental policies for those waterways. 

Water Agency Can Challenge Tribal Tax Rule, 9th Circ. Told
The Desert Water Agency in California is fighting a federal rule that bars state and local taxation and fee collection from hotels, restaurants, and other non-tribal facilities built on tribal land. The agency has claimed that the rule could lead to the loss of nearly 30 percent of its annual revenue. is a free service, grant-funded to support small community water and wastewater operators with comprehensive resources and information in one easy-to-use place. We also serve the 800+ training, primacy, and technical service organizations, by helping operators get to their information. We aren't buying, selling, or advertising anything. You can call us at 1-866-522-2681 if you need assistance.

Recently at

Templates for an Emergency Response Plan
The first in a three-part series with guides and tips to help small systems develop comprehensive emergency response plans. 

Better ERPs Part 2: Are You Prepared for a Drought? 
Be prepared with a drought contingency plan. 

Better ERPs Part 3: Is Your System Ready for Extreme Weather Events?
Part three of a series designed to help utilities build robust, comprehensive emergency response plans. 

What utilities and regulators need to know about direct potable reuse
A landmark report provides guidance on the key components of a DPR program and helps decision makers understand the role DPR can play in their communities. 

Tips to help utilities get the water rates they need 
Learn how to build a successful rate communication strategy. 
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