The California Water Commission on Thursday determined the public benefits and eligible funding amounts for 11 proposed water storage projects, taking another step toward awarding close to $2.7 billion in funding to help expand the state’s water storage capacity
The decisions capped a three-day meeting in Sacramento in which the Commission heard staff recommendations as well as comments from funding applicants and the public. Eight of the 11 projects will move forward to the next phase of project scoring, while three were deemed ineligible.
“We appreciate the dialogue with applicants and the public this week, and the Commission shares their desire to fund as many eligible projects as possible,” Commission Chair Armando Quintero said. “While our decisions mean some projects will not be eligible for their full ask due to the requirements of Proposition 1, at the end of this process we will be kickstarting a variety of projects that add significant water storage for California’s future.”
Proposition 1, approved by voters in 2014, funds the public benefit aspects of water storage projects: specifically, ecosystem improvement, water quality improvement, flood control, recreation and emergency response. Applications for Proposition 1 funding must detail these public benefits, along with a measurable benefit for the Delta, to receive funding.
The Commission made decisions on each project’s public benefit value to calculate that project’s public benefit ratio, which is one of four component scores that will be used to determine eligibility for Proposition 1 funding. The ratio is the value of the public benefits divided by the applicant’s funding request.
The value of the public benefits also determines the maximum eligible funding each project can receive from the program due to limits set in Proposition 1. The combined maximum eligible funding for proposed projects now totals $2.819 billion, which is greater than the available Proposition 1 funding. The Commission voted to allow applicants to confirm or adjust their funding request by 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 9. Adjusting the funding request can change the public benefit ratio.
On May 25, staff will release recommendations for the remaining component scores: relative environmental value, resiliency and implementation risk. The Commission will make final decisions on those scores at its June 27-29 meeting. Preliminary award decisions will be made at the Commission’s July meeting.
The diverse range of projects under consideration include expanding existing reservoirs, boosting groundwater storage and building new surface water storage facilities.
Proposition 1 dedicated $2.7 billion for the water storage program. As noted at the beginning of the application process, 2 percent of that amount is set aside for bond financing and 2.5 percent is set aside for state administrative costs over the life of the program, so the total funding available is $2.582 billion.
A summary of the Commission’s determinations is below. Additional detail is available here.
Commission Determinations for PBR Portion of Score
Commission-Approved Eligible Amount
Public Benefit Ratio Pending Applicant Funding Request Confirmation
Centennial Water Supply Project
Chino Basin Conjunctive Use Environmental Water Storage / Exchange Program
Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project
Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project
Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project
Pure Water San Diego Program North City Phase 1
South Sacramento County Agriculture & Habitat Lands Recycled Water, Groundwater Storage and Conjunctive Use Program
Temperance Flat Reservoir Project
Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater Protection Project
Willow Springs Water Bank Conjunctive Use Project
Total Commission-Approved Eligible Amount
Information about Commission meeting schedules and status of review may be found at www.cwc.ca.gov.
The nine-member 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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