The Sacramento region is one step closer to receiving a funding infusion for projects that will help shore up the area’s water supply reliability during drought.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is proposing to allocate $9.7 million in state grants to the Regional Water Authority (RWA) for 17 projects designed to expand the ability to recharge, store, extract and move groundwater around the community to help reduce the region’s reliance on Folsom Reservoir.
“Folsom is our biggest risk when it comes to water supply, because it serves statewide water supply and environmental needs in addition to our own,” said RWA Executive Director John Woodling. “This funding will help us reduce reliance on Folsom during extremely dry times. Local agencies have been actively storing groundwater in our underlying basin for nearly two decades, which makes the basin our greatest insurance against future water shortages.”
Projects recommended for funding include 13 new or upgraded groundwater wells, four interties to move water between agencies and construction of four pump stations to lift water to areas at higher elevations. Additionally, grant funding would be used to improve the capability to pull water from the American and Sacramento rivers when they reach extremely low flows, as they did this year. Piping of an open canal will reduce water loss and water conservation incentives for customers in the region will help make the available water supply go further during dry conditions.
“Together, these projects greatly enhance the region’s ability to move water from those areas with available supply to those in need, as well as maximize available water supplies,” Woodling said.
RWA estimates the 17 projects will ultimately cost more than $26 million to complete. Grant funding will offset over a third of those costs with the remainder borne by local water providers and their ratepayers.
Statewide, DWR is proposing to allocate $200 million in funds to 23 water planning groups for at least 110 projects designed to alleviate the current drought’s impacts and improve regional drought preparedness.
The expedited funding of the grants is made possible through the $687.4 million package of drought-response legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in March. Funding will be through the Proposition 84 program, a $5.4 billion general obligation bond measure approved by voters in 2006, which authorized $1 billion in funding for integrated regional water management.
The public comment period on the recommendations is open until Oct. 8, and DWR anticipates announcing final awards by October 31.
About the Regional Water Authority: RWA is a joint powers authority representing two dozen water providers and affiliates in the greater Sacramento area. Its primary mission is to help its members protect and enhance the reliability, availability, affordability and quality of water resources.