Struggling to Pay Your Water Bill? Here’s Help

Paying bills is tough for many families, especially when it comes to costly necessities like water. If you’re having trouble covering your water and sewer bills each month, don’t panic – there are resources available to get financial assistance. This article will walk through government programs, nonprofits, and other organizations that provide help to households unable to pay their water utility bills.

LIHWAP: Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

One of the largest sources of water bill assistance is the LIHWAP program. LIHWAP provided funds to help low income households pay water and wastewater bills.

Who qualifies? Eligibility depended on your state but was generally based on income and family size. You had to apply through your local LIHWAP agency.

How much does it help? Benefits varied but could pay part of your water bill, help avoid shutoffs, or restore disconnected service Average benefit was $464 per household

Current status LIHWAP funding ended in 2022 No new applications are available

If you received LIHWAP before, check if your state has residual funds to continue assistance. Otherwise, explore the other options in this article.

Search Your State Social Service Agency

Each state has its own social service departments that offer programs for residents, including potential water bill assistance.

  • Department of Health and Human Services – Common state agency that provides services and cash assistance for essential needs.

  • Community Action Agencies – Local nonprofits that assist with housing, food, utilities and more.

  • Department of Energy – Some states offer water heating or cooling assistance.

To find your state social service agency, search “[your state] assistance programs” or visit and search water bill help.

Contact United Way

United Way operates a free referral hotline to connect people to local assistance programs and resources, including for water bills.

  • Call 211 from any phone
  • Visit and search for water assistance
  • Available 24/7 in most areas

Share your zip code and situation and they’ll share organizations in your community that may be able to help cover your water utility costs.

Check with Your Water Company

Don’t forget to reach out to your water provider directly! Many offer their own assistance programs for customers in need.

  • Payment plans – Arrange to spread payments over several months.

  • Reduced rates – If you meet low income requirements, you may qualify for discounted rates.

  • Temporary aid – Some provide short-term bill credits or waive reconnection fees.

  • Conservation rebates – Get cash back for installing water-saving fixtures.

Also ask if they have partnerships with any local nonprofits or government agencies that pay bills.

Search for Nonprofit Bill Assistance

There are thousands of nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide utility assistance, including help with water bills, to families in need.

  • Catholic Charities – Offers short-term financial help for bills and other necessities.

  • Salvation Army – May cover part of utility bills along with other emergency costs.

  • St. Vincent de Paul – Provides assistance through local conferences nationwide.

  • Modest Needs Foundation – Grants can help cover utility costs for families.

Check these and search for other nonprofits and churches in your area that offer water bill grants or funding.

Apply for Community Grants

Some community foundations, civic groups, and local charities offer bill assistance grants for families experiencing hardship and unable to pay essential utilities.

  • FamilyWize Community Service Partnership – Provides hardship grants and free prescription discounts.

  • Local food banks – Many offer utility assistance in addition to food aid.

  • Municipal charities – Cities/towns may have hardship or emergency funds.

  • United Way grants – Creates local community assistance funds.

See if you qualify to apply for a community assistance grant that could cover part of your outstanding water utility bill.

Use Crowdfunding Sites

If you’ve exhausted all other options, crowdfunding could be a last resort to raise money from friends and strangers to pay your water bill.

  • GoFundMe – Most popular site with over $15 billion raised. Share your story to get donations.

  • DonorsChoose – Request supplies, projects or basic needs like utility bills.

  • Modest Needs – Specializes in small grants for bills, food, housing.

  • Fundly – Allows you to raise money for personal causes and bills.

Just make sure to do your research first and carefully vet any crowdfunding platforms you use.

Conserve Water and Lower Your Bill

While you’re getting financial help, also focus on lowering your monthly water usage so bills are more affordable going forward.

  • Install low-flow faucet aerators and showerheads
  • Fix any leaky faucets, pipes, or toilets
  • Run full loads in dishwasher and washing machine
  • Take shorter showers instead of baths
  • Turn off water when brushing teeth, washing dishes, etc.

Even minor reductions add up over time and could significantly lower your bill! Monitor your usage monthly and celebrate any decrease.

Get Budgeting Help

Managing your monthly bills and budget can also help keep water costs under control. These resources can assist:

The more you can budget and plan ahead, the less you’ll scramble when big utility bills come due.

Don’t Lose Hope!

It’s stressful and scary being unable to afford an essential utility like water. But take a deep breath – there are many organizations ready to help if you reach out. Spend time researching all the government, nonprofit, community, and utility company resources in your area. With commitment and creativity, you can find assistance to pay your water bill and keep this necessary service. Stay positive and don’t give up!

Help Pay Water Bill

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Help Pay Water Bill

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) provided funds to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. LIHWAP grants were available to States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and Federally and state-recognized Indian Tribes and tribal organizations that received fiscal year 2021 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) grants.

NOTICE: Funding is no longer available for LIHWAP. Households cannot receive LIHWAP benefits at this time.

Please visit to find out about other government benefit programs for which you may be eligible, and to see if you are eligible for energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

We encourage you to seek assistance using these resources that may have information on water and wastewater assistance and other various essential resources:

  • Community Action Agencies (CAA): CAAs are local government and nonprofit organizations that administer social service programs across the country. You can find contact information for your local agency at this link:
  • United Way: Additional resource programs that may be available to assist you can be found by dialing the United Way at 2-1-1 or visiting This resource is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Visit to find out about other government benefit programs for which you might be eligible.
  • See this Water Assistance Resources (PDF) guide for information on how you can ask about water bill assistance in your local area.
  • See this Water Assistance Resources (PDF) guide for information on where you can find help with your water well or septic system.
  • Energy assistance: Energy assistance may be available to you through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To find out more, visit

Help Pay Water Bill

Please Note:

The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) does not provide direct grants to individuals; LIHWAP does not charge a fee for receiving a benefit.

If you receive a message offering you a LIHWAP grant or requesting a fee, please contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Fraud Hotline at 1-800-447-8477.

For more information, please visit the Grant Fraud and Scams.

Help Pay Water Bill

LIHWAP Data Dashboard Updates

LIHWAP serves over ONE MILLION households. See this milestone, and other important data, in the updated LIHWAP Data Dashboard . OCS has added Fiscal Year 2023 Quarter 3 reports from grant recipients, which cover the reporting period from April 1, 2023 through June 30, 2023.

Help Pay Water Bill

Conducted in the spring and summer of 2023, the survey collected information from water and wastewater utilities across the United States about arrears, disconnections, fees, rates, and other utility information. The survey was intended to fill a gap in current knowledge related to these indicators on a national scale and to help LIHWAP grant recipients learn more about how they can best assist households in their service areas. 1,822 responses were included in analyses, coming from 49 states, the District of Columbia, 12 tribally-owned utilities, and one territory.

Help Pay Water Bill

Help paying water bills

How do I get water bill assistance?

It can include TANF, disability benefits, loans, non-profit grant money and more. While funding is almost always limited, and income criteria often need to be met, individuals should always look into their local resources for immediate water bill assistance.

Does lihwap pay for water bills?

LIHWAP can pay for both (1) water bills as well as (2) wasterwater/sewer costs. The federal government LIHWAP program expands upon the LIHEAP resource. The assistance provided near you will be either a free government grant to pay a past due balance on a water bill or credit on your account.

What is emergency water bill help?

Emergency water bill help is focused on helping senior citizens, disabled people, and low-income families with a shut off notice. Grant money, hardship programs and other resources are offered. Get details on water bill assistance near you below. In some cases a full bill is paid and in other instances partial payments are made.

Where can I get help paying a bill?

Whether you need help paying one bill or many, or are looking for information to help someone else, you are not alone. Your local 211 agency has the most up-to-date information about local assistance that may be available to you. If you prefer to talk to someone, you can always call 211 to get connected to a local specialist.

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