In this report, we evaluate how states allocate support from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) using national and state-level data from 2011 to 2020. This program already helps address disparities and has even more potential to do so.
We find that states address disparities by targeting assistance towards:
- Health: Communities with more health-based Safe Drinking Water Act violations are more likely to receive assistance.
- Income: Communities with lower median household incomes are slightly more likely to receive assistance.
We also find that states could do more to address disparities by expanding:
- Reach: 7.1 percent of eligible drinking water systems have received assistance.
- Additional subsidies: 26.6 percent of total assistance was distributed as principal forgiveness, grants, or negative interest loans, despite a federal ceiling of 35 percent for disadvantaged communities.
- Diversity: Small communities and more racially diverse ones are less likely to receive assistance.