In a step toward expanding the state’s water storage capacity, the California Water Commission today released initial technical reviews for 11 water storage projects seeking $2.7 billion in funding under the Proposition 1 Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). The reviews focused on quantifying the public benefits associated with the proposed projects, as defined in Proposition 1 and program regulations.
“The Water Storage Investment Program is an important opportunity to invest in California’s water future,” Commission Chair Armando Quintero said. “The Commission is committed to funding projects that are the best return on the public’s investment and that help create the additional above- and below-ground storage capacity that California vitally needs. There are many steps ahead in the process, and we look forward to the next phases.”
The initial reviews, which are posted on the Commission WSIP Portal, are the first step in the task of quantifying the public benefits – ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements, flood control, emergency response and recreation – associated with the proposed projects. Review teams included subject matter experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board.
Applicants will have the opportunity over the next three weeks to provide additional supporting information and address specific comments from the review process. In addition, Commission staff is scheduling optional meetings with applicants to answer clarifying questions related to the initial technical review. The meetings will be open to the public and stakeholders. Commission staff anticipates the public benefit ratios will change based on that additional information and will release revised numbers that will go to the Commission for consideration in May.
“This program is the first of its kind in California, and in many ways the Commission staff, technical reviewers and applicants are navigating the rules and regulations together,” Quintero said. “No funding decisions have been made by the Commission, and all projects remain active and viable in the review process. The Commission has every confidence the information received in the coming weeks will help us fund eligible projects and the public benefits they provide.”
The public benefit ratio is one of four component scores that will be used to determine eligibility for Proposition 1 funding. Applicants have until 5 p.m. Feb. 23 to provide additional supporting information and respond to issues identified in the initial review. The Commission expects to make preliminary funding decisions in July.
The California Water Commission is charged with advising the director of the California Department of Water Resources, approving rules and regulations, and furthering development of state policies that support integrated and sustainable water resources management. For more information regarding the California Water Commission visit www.cwc.ca.gov.
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