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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
DATE: October 23, 2020
CONTACT: Jim Martin, (603) 568-9777

Emergency Drought Assistance to Low-Income Residential Well Owners

Concord, NH - At the request of Governor Chris Sununu, the NH Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) have created a new initiative to provide short-term relief and financial assistance for low-income New Hampshire homeowners served by residential wells that are experiencing insufficient water or no water due to drought conditions.

"I am pleased the Drinking Water Groundwater Trust Fund approved $1.5 million in emergency funding to assist low-income homeowners remediate their wells if they are experiencing insufficient water due to drought. When citizens turn on their faucets, they should be able to trust that clean drinking water is available for them and their families," said Governor Chris Sununu.

Short-term Drought Relief Measures
The initiative will include temporary relief to ensure households have an adequate supply of drinking water in the near-term. Households on residential wells, whose income is at or below 80% of the area median household income and that have no water due to the ongoing drought, may be eligible for bottled water deliveries at no cost for drinking and cooking uses. The provision of bottled water is intended to be a temporary measure until the household receives assistance to permanently mitigate the well that has been impacted by drought.

Permanent Drought Relief Measures
Financial assistance for improving or replacing residential wells with insufficient water due to drought, or connection to an existing community water system financial assistance may be made available for qualifying low-income homeowners through a grant from the N.H. Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund.

Additionally, once the work is completed, all wells must be sampled and tested for the water quality parameters established by NHDES. The laboratory costs for testing are an eligible expense to be covered by the grant. However, the provision of drought assistance does not guarantee the quality or quantity of water associated with the work funded by this grant, and costs to add treatment are not eligible costs.  

"Due to the drought, many Granite Staters have no other option than to upgrade their wells to ensure a steady supply of clean drinking water for their homes. These upgrades are expensive and are often completely unaffordable for some of our friends and neighbors. This program will be a lifeline to those who otherwise could not afford these essential upgrades. I applaud my fellow Commission members for coming together so quickly to unanimously approve this program and the staff of the Department of Environmental Services for developing it in record time," said Senator Chuck Morse, Chairman of the NH Drinking Water and Groundwater Advisory Commission.

"Given the severity of the drought, recent precipitation has done relatively little to alter drought conditions impacting residential wells in New Hampshire. Residents still need to take every action to conserve water now and for the foreseeable future. This well assistance initiative will provide some much needed help to some low-income residents that are without water as a result of the drought," said Bob Scott, NHDES Commissioner.

Information about income eligibility requirements and the amount of financial assistance for permanent drought relief measures are available on the NHDES Drought Management Webpage. Emergency drought assistance is available to eligible households retroactive to costs incurred since June 23, 2020. Homeowners interested in assistance are asked to complete the following survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/wellwaterhelp

Homeowner that have questions about the survey or eligibility, please email: droughtwellinfo@des.nh.gov or call Paige Relf, NHDES, at (603) 271-1355.




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