NEWS WORTH NOTING: EPA awards California $187 million for drinking water and wastewater projects; California, Washington and British Columbia join forces on forest health and climate change

EPA awards California $187 million for drinking water and wastewater projects

From the US EPA:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $187.3 million to California for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.

“These funds will be used for 183 local projects that will boost the economy while improving water systems,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “EPA is committed to investing in local infrastructure that will benefit the communities we serve.”

EPA awarded $187.3 million to California’s Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs. These federal funds are supplemented with state funding sources, which together provide low-interest loans for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. As money is repaid to the revolving loan fund, California funds new infrastructure projects.

“As we deal with an unprecedented demand for clean drinking water, the two State Revolving Fund programs will play a significant role in the State Water Board’s commitment to protect public health and water quality,” said California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Financial Assistance Deputy Director Leslie Laudon. “The funds will address a variety of crucial needs, from upgrading and consolidating small, struggling water systems to recycling wastewater, recharging groundwater and replenishing drinking water supplies. Simply put, these funds help make California water safer, more accessible and sustainable as the state faces a variety of daunting challenges in the years ahead.”

The state’s Drinking Water SRF received more than $72.5 million for drinking water infrastructure improvements to public water systems including:

  • The Indio Water Authority will consolidate two small local water systems serving disadvantaged communities into the Indio Water Authority to provide a reliable supply of water that meets drinking water standards.
  • The South Tahoe Public Utilities District will install approximately 6,200 linear feet of new waterline and replace approximately 6,200 linear feet of waterline. The program will also include installation of fire hydrants, pressure regulating valves, air release valves, water services, meters, valve clusters, and paving, to provide reliable service to its customers.

The state’s Clean Water SRF received more than $114.7 million to support a variety of water infrastructure improvement projects, including the following:

  • The East Valley Water District and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District will construct the Sterling Natural Resource Center from the ground up. The treatment plant will use the most advanced technology—a membrane bioreactor– to produce tertiary treated, recycled wastewater that meets all applicable requirements to recharge the Bunker Hill Groundwater Basin and ensure local supplies of drinking water for the community.
  • The City of El Centro will upgrade the wastewater treatment plant’s high-speed aeration blowers. Aeration is an integral part of the treatment process and updating to efficient blowers will reduce the plant’s energy use by 34% annually and create significant savings.

EPA has awarded more than $5 billion to California’s Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF programs since their inception in 1988 and 1996, respectively. These funds support California’s efforts to address an estimated $70.5 billion worth of water infrastructure needs.

For more information on EPA’s SRF programs, please visit:
www.epa.gov/drinkingwatersrf
www.epa.gov/cwsrf

California, Washington and British Columbia Join Forces on Forest Health and Climate Change

Partnership Aims to Increase Carbon Sequestration and Strengthen Forest Management

From the California Natural Resources Agency:

California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and British Columbia Minister of Forests Doug Donaldson today pledged to share information and work jointly to improve forest resilience and better understand how forests are responding to climatic changes.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today builds on initial steps taken by California and Washington during the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in September. With the addition of British Columbia, the stage is set for the three jurisdictions to collaborate on shared challenges including a changing climate, tree mortality, severe wildfire risk and drought.

“Forests are an essential component in the fight against climate change,” said Secretary Laird. “Collaborating with other states, and even other countries, allows us to learn from each other and bring innovative solutions online faster than we could on our own.”

“The impacts of climate change don’t stop at state or national boundaries, and neither can our work. The shared challenges we face are real and imminent,” said Commissioner Franz. “This agreement lays the groundwork for quick and effective solutions that will make all of our communities, lands and waters more resilient in the face of a changing climate.”

“The past two wildfire seasons in British Columbia have clearly demonstrated some of the challenges we’re facing with climate change,” said Minister Donaldson. “At the same time, I know other jurisdictions are facing similar problems and, now more than ever, there is a need to collaborate on solutions to our changing climate.”

As Pacific Coast forests face increased threats due to wildfires, drought, invasive pests and diseases, rural economies are among the first to feel the impacts. A key goal of the MOU is to explore ways to expand the market for forest products and promote investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration and enhance forest resilience.

The collaboration among California, Washington, and British Columbia involves seven principles:

  1. Share and explore innovations in fuel management methods, including prescribed and managed fire, pre-fire management, post-fire restoration, post-treatment monitoring and evaluation, tools and equipment, best practices, and technology to mitigate and lessen the negative effects of increased wildfires and tree mortality.
  2. Share and explore innovations in climate-informed reforestation, including strategies for climate-adapted species, genotypes, planting techniques, and ongoing management needs.
  3. Share and explore approaches to evaluate and account for changes in forest carbon over time.
  4. Share and explore advances in forest-related science and data collection to better understand how forests are responding to changes in climatic conditions.
  5. Share and explore innovations in low-carbon emitting, or carbon sequestering, utilization of harvested wood products removed from the forest through timber management or fuels reduction activities.
  6. Share and explore incentive mechanisms to reduce conversion of forestland to non-forest uses and promote carbon-rich, climate resilient forests.
  7. Share and explore opportunities for investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration, enhance forest resilience, encourage multi-benefit forest uses, and support natural resource dependent communities.

The three jurisdictions plan to convene a joint summit within a year to develop implementation pathways for each area of the MOU.

The MOU was signed via phone and is available here.

 

 

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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