Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

This COVID-19 relief program is ending.
The LAST day we will accept COMPLETE applications is
March 22, 2024 at 5PM, or until funds have been expended. Participants do NOT need to have a past due bill to be eligible: however, we will give priority to those with past due bills.

MAAC is dedicated to reducing poverty by helping low-income individuals and families achieve and maintain economic security, meet their home utility needs, and reduce their utility costs through energy efficiency upgrades and access to clean renewable energy.

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a one-time, federally funded relief program that provides financial assistance to low-income households who have struggled to make water and/or wastewater payments prior to, and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • One-time benefit: a household may receive one benefit payment for water OR wastewater (including stormwater charges) or both if the bill includes both services during the program period.
  • Maximum Benefit: $15,000
  • Coverage: payment can cover the water OR wastewater arrearage amount (including stormwater charges), or both if the bill includes both services, to include current charges, late fees, reconnection fees, taxes, and other charges.
  • Bundled Bills: if a water or wastewater system cannot distinguish water or wastewater costs from other bundled service charges (such as garbage, electricity, etc.) the benefit payment may only cover current charges, late fees, reconnection fees, taxes, and other charges associated with water and/or wastewater (including stormwater charges) portions of the bill.

Benefits will be paid directly to owners and operators of public systems (defined as community water systems, community water system billing entities, wastewater treatment providers, or wastewater billing entities in California). Applicants who owe a balance for water or wastewater services to a non-participating water system are not eligible to receive assistance.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant must:

  • Have access to email
  • Fill out our eligibility form
  • Submit proof of government photo identification.
    • State identification (ID) card, driver’s license, U.S. passport or passport card, U.S. military card (copy of front and back), Permanent Resident Card or employment authorization card.
    • The name on the application must be the same as the name indicated on the government issued ID.
    • Expired government issued ID is acceptable for a period of one year from expiration date. For seniors 60 and above, an expired government issued ID is acceptable regardless of expiration date.
  • Have a past due bill or current charges owed to a participating water and/or wastewater system of residential accounts that accrued during any time period.
    • Applicant may be any member of the household. It is not required that the applicant’s name be the same as the water or wastewater account holder.
  • Reside in MAAC’s service area:







  • Be income eligible:
    • Recipient of LIHEAP, CalWorks, or CalFresh; OR eligible according to the household income chart provided below


Size of HouseholdMonthly Income

“NOTE: Income amounts for family sizes greater than six persons were determined based on the following calculation:
Add 3% to 132% for each additional family member, multiply the new percentage by $62,313.00, and divide by 12 i.e. a household size of 7: 132% + 3% = 135% x $84,122.55 = $÷ 12 = $7,010.21per month.”

Application Process

Step 1: Fill out the eligibility form here. If you need help completing the eligibility form or believe you received an email stating you’re ineligible for the program in error, please contact us at 619.349.0123 Monday-Friday (except Wednesdays) 8 AM-3 PM.

Step 2: If you are potentially eligible for assistance, you will receive an email with a link to the application as well as important information related to the application.

Step 3: Complete the application. You will need to enter information into all fields and respond to all questions within the application. Failure to complete the entire application may result in your application being denied.

Step 4: At the end of the application, upload required supporting documents. Click on the image below to view the list of required documents. If you require assistance completing the application and uploading documents, you can attend an in-person application assistance clinic. The clinic schedule and locations are provided in the email you receive with the application. You must bring all required supporting documentation with you to the clinic.


Step 5: Your application will be reviewed and processed by MAAC staff in the order that it was received. You will receive an email from MAAC staff stating that your application was approved and needs to be signed, denied, or incomplete. If your application is incomplete, you will have 10 business days to make corrections and/or provide missing documentation.


Step 6: If your application was approved, you will receive an email requesting that you review and sign the application.

Step 7: Upon approval, MAAC staff submits application information to CSD (a state agency).

Step 8: CSD issues payment to the water authority or water/wastewater service provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: This program (LIHWAP) benefits both water and wastewater, right?

Answer: Yes. However, the benefit may only be applied to one household bill. If water and wastewater charges appear together on one bill, then the LIHWAP benefit may be applied to both water AND wastewater. If water and wastewater charges appear on separate bills, the applicant must choose which bill, water OR wastewater, to apply the LIHWAP benefit.

Question: How can we find out if a water system is participating?

Answer: Please contact your water and/or wastewater provider. You can also email water@maacproject.org to inquire about a specific water system’s status.

Question: Do I need a photo ID to apply for the program?

Answer: Yes, a government-issued photo ID is required for LIHWAP.

Question: Do I need my social security card as well to apply for the program?

Answer: No, your physical social security card is not required, but we will need your social security number (SSN) or another unique identifier to transfer the application to CORE for processing and payment.

Question: If the applicant is a current recipient of CalFresh, CalWORKs, or LIHEAP, are they automatically eligible for LIHWAP even if they are over income?

Answer: Yes, if the applicant is currently participating in one of those programs, they will only need to self-certify their income, even if the total household income is over current LIHWAP guidelines. Proof of income will not be required for these applicants, but the total household income would still need to be provided.

Question: Do applicants who receive Medi-Cal but not cash aid or CalFresh automatically qualify for LIHWAP?

Answer: At this time, applicants must be a recipient of one or more of the following programs: LIHEAP, CalWORKs, or CalFresh to be automatically qualified for LIHWAP. Applicants not participating in one of those three programs must qualify according to the above income guidelines.

Question: Can the program assist with disconnections and recently closed water accounts?

Answer: Yes, we can still assist the applicant if their water has been disconnected or the account was recently closed. We can add reconnection fees and submit payment to the water system.

Question: If the applicant has a past due balance (debt), will LIHWAP cover the current balance too?

Answer: Yes, LIHWAP may be applied to both past due and current charges up to the maximum amount of $2,000 per household.

Question: If utilities are included with rent and not on a separate bill, is the applicant still eligible for assistance?

Answer: Yes. The applicant must be listed on the lease or agreement between the landlord and tenant/renter; the landlord must sign CSD Form 40 provided by MAAC (landlord agreement that benefits will be applied towards rent); the landlord must provide a copy of the water bill to confirm the account number for the property.

Question: How long does it take for the water system to receive payment?

Answer: 30-45 days from the CORE submission date (when MAAC has approved the application and made the referral).

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding the LIHWAP program, please contact us via phone

619.349.0123 or email water@MAACproject.org.