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Get help paying water bills.

Customers struggling with paying their water bills have a number of assistance programs they can turn to. Non-profit organizations, charities, churches, and government organizations may all offer financial help. Most of the programs have income limits in place, and will only help if a household is faced with a shut off of their water service. Some of the options are below.

  • The Federal Government operates the LIHWAP low-income water bill assistance program. It is available nationwide and provides grants, including emergency financial help, to struggling families. LIHEAP can pay for both (1) water bills as well as (2) wasterwater/sewer costs.
  • American Water operates dozens of companies across the nation, including in Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and Massachusetts. They have resources they offer to those who need help paying their water bills, including the Low Income Water Bill Payment Program as well as H2O Help to Others. More information is below.
  • There are also resources offered by non-profits, charities, government programs, and some payment plans that may be offered directly by water companies. Find details below on water bill assistance from local organizations.

Find more information on all these programs below, as well as how to apply. As the goal is to help a low income and/or struggling household keep the water service on in their home. A major focus is on helping the elderly, disabled, and parents with children (including single moms) pay their water and sewer costs.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

As soon as you think you may fall behind on your water bills, you are strongly encourage to call the customer service department of your provider or a local community action agency to learn about the options available to you. While direct financial aid is not common, they may offer you a plan that will help you pay the balance of the water bill over time in some form of installment program. In addition, you may also be eligible to receive assistance on your water bill from the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) and/or the H2O Help to Others Program (which is offered by a number of companies).




The LIHWAP program  expands upon the LIHEAP resource, both of which are federally funded. The assistance provided, which can be in the form of a grant or credit  on your account. All funds are paid directly to the water or sewer company. The amount of government assistance will depend on a few factors including eligibility, income, and family size. The credit will reduce the amount of money that is owed.

In addition, depending on the state you live in, there may be emergency cash grants offered as part of this program as well. To qualify for this LIHWAP assistance program there are some limits on the total monthly household income, and the criteria will vary based upon the area and state that the family lives in. Learn more about the criteria and LIHWAP program.

Water company financial assistance programs and charities

Many water companies will do what they can to work with customers to help them keep their service on. They may offer payment plans, allow unpaid bills to be paid in installments, and other options. In addition, many counties across the nation have non-profit agencies, churches, or government programs that may offer cash assistance for paying water bills. While funding is almost always limited, and income criteria often need to be met, individuals should always look into their local resources. Find a listing of local assistance programs by state and county.

While not as common, certain charity type organizations like the Salvation Army, Saint Vincent DePaul, or Catholic Charities may provide financial help in an emergency. Each of these groups will have limited funding. If they can assist with unpaid water bills, it will usually only be a last resort and when a family is facing an unexpected emergency.

The programs are run locally, with assistance paid out in each town or county. Any grants that may be available to pay water costs will often be for families in a crisis or people at risk, such as the elderly or households with young children. Read more on various charity organizations.

Discounts, extensions and payment programs are available from some water companies. In addition, government mandated resources may be offered in certain states, counties, or cities that will provide discounts to income qualified households. While these payment plans are not common, they do exist in some areas. They can generally provide customers more time to pay their back water bills and the programs may provide other forms of assistance as well. More on water bill payment plans.





H2O Help to Others Program

The H2O Help to Others Program was created to assist those struggling households who need the most water bill assistance and that are facing a possible shut off of their service. It can also provide financial help in an emergency as well. It is provided by American Water and many other local as well as national providers. Customers who qualify for this program may receive a free cash grant of up to $500 to help them with paying their monthly water bill. The funds will be applied to any past due balance on your account.

Unfortunately a cash grant from the H2O Help to Others Program may not cover a recipients entire water bill. In certain cases, recipients of the grant money will still need to pay a portion on their own. The exact terms and conditions will depend on how much they owe on their water bill and it will also be based upon their income.

To qualify for the H2O Help to Others Program, the total monthly household income of the recipient may not exceed certain thresholds. There is also financial aid for paying water bills from H2O that is targeted at senior citizens as well as the disabled. The program terms will be set depending on the state and area in which you reside. Please contact American Water for more information and how to apply.

Yet another benefit of the H20 Help to Others Program is that American Water and the organizations that oversee it will often connect customers with other resources and sources of financial aid in their local communities. So referrals and information is usually available on other charities, agencies, non-profits and assistance programs for which they might qualify for aid.

There are many other benefits to the program. What has been experienced is that those who qualify for the water bill assistance program are often set back on track for long term stability. After receiving financial help they are also able to begin paying their water and other utility bills on time going forward. They also are usually able to start meeting other financial obligations and commitments and work towards long term self-sufficiency. Find additional ways to get help with utility bills, including LIHEAP and more.

Water conservation and audits

In addition to direct financial help, people can get free advice and information on how to reduce their monthly water bills. Conservation is available from many sources, including information on the government WaterSense program.





Customers can also sign often up for their home water survey. Many municipalities and water providers offer this. This program will have a company conservation specialist dispatched to the home, and they will perform a comprehensive audit of the home for free. The specialist will thoroughly check the property for leaks, inefficient watering systems, and other areas of potential savings.

They will then create and provide the customer with a detailed, in-depth report that will document their personal water usage. In addition to all of that, the service will offer them tips on things they can do to conserve as well as suggestions on how to lower their water bills. Find other ways how to save money on utility or water bills.


By Jon McNamara

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