More news worth noting: Recreation charges at issue in State Water Project contract negotiations, EPA awards $174 million to CA, WaterSmart grants, and State Water Board signs MOU re: non-federal hydropower projects

news worth notingState Water Project contract extension negotiations to continue into January, recreation costs a sticking point:  Devan Upadhyay characterized the negotiations as “slow and difficult” during his update the Metropolitan Water District’s Water Planning and Stewardship Committee earlier this week.  The contractors are looking for an extension of the contract term to prevent increases in capital cost payments due to the shorter term length, a billing process that is more clear and understandable, and increased input in DWR’s financial management decisions.  The Department of Water Resources is looking for increased financial flexibility, more cash reserves, and the ability to issue revised bills.  The main sticking issue appears to be that DWR is looking for a revenue source for non-water related items, such as recreation and fish and wildlife enhancement costs.  The Davis-Dolwig Act says the state is responsible for these charges, not the water contractors, and the contractors are adamant that they do not want to pay these costs.  DWR is now looking for the contractors to agree on the share of SWP costs that would be paid by the state that is associated with recreation, reports Mr. Upadhyay, and they have brought up the notion that the contractors would forego protests related to the state not paying the full recreation costs.  “There are some key items on DWR”s side that, as you can see, are positions that would be very difficult to simply say yes to,” said Mr. Upadhyay.  Negotiation sessions have been scheduled through January, and are expected to go slowly, in part, due to the holiday season.

US EPA awards California $174 million for drinking water systems and water pollution reduction:  “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it recently awarded the State of California $174 million in federal funding to invest in water infrastructure projects. The California Department of Public Health received a $79 million grant for its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and the California State Water Resources Control Board received a $95 million grant for its Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The funding will be used for projects to control water pollution and provide low-cost loans for both drinking water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades statewide.  “In the last 26 years, EPA has provided more than $4 billion in funding for California water projects alone” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional Administrator of EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Without this investment at the federal level, many communities would not be able to satisfy Californians’ basic needs for clean and safe drinking water.”  … ”  Read more from the EPA here:  EPA awards $174 million to improve drinking water systems, reduce water pollution across Calif.

Congressman Napolitano pushes Reclamation’s WaterSmart grants, encourages California entities to apply:  ““Meeting our existing water needs is critical as we prepare for future drought cycles,” Napolitano said. “California can benefit greatly through WaterSMART’s new opportunities for funding projects as we consider all options to solve our water problems. These grants will continue to assist communities in securing their long term water supply and create good paying jobs in our region.”  Earlier this week, the California Department of Water Resources announced a dismal initial allocation of 5% for the State Water Project. The current hydrologic state only stresses the need for WaterSMART Projects, like water recycling. Applicants are eligible to request cost-shared funding for the planning, design, or construction of these projects.  … ”  Find out more here:  Rep. Napolitano’s Statement on New WaterSMART Funding Opportunities

State Water Board and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enter into Memorandum of Understanding on non-federal hydropower projects:  The MOU lays out the principles that the staff at both agencies will follow to coordinate pre-application activities associated with proposed non-federal hydropower projects, such as consultation, environmental scoping, study planning, and submittal of and commenting on the applicant’s preliminary licensing proposal.  Read the MOU here: Water Quality Certification Program Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email