FUNDING AWARDS: DWR Announces $83.9 Million in Grants for Local and Regional Water Resilience Projects

From the Department of Water Resources:

To continue California’s progress toward establishing a more climate resilient future, today the Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded $83.9 million in grants to communities in the Sacramento, San Joaquin, San Diego, Sierra and Central Coast regions.

Funded by voter-approved Proposition 1 and provided through DWR’s Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Program, these funds will support projects that address aging infrastructure, flood control, depleted groundwater levels and other critical needs in communities throughout the state. Approximately $31.4 million of the funding announced today will go toward projects that also provide direct benefits to disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, including Tribes. This is the third set of funding awards that have been released under this program since April 2020.

“Water is such a vital resource, that it is critical we continue to take action to ensure communities have access to clean water supplies, reliable flood protection and healthy ecosystems” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “These grants will support agencies and projects to continue local momentum in creating a more diverse water supply portfolio, strengthening partnerships and addressing climate change.”

Among the awarded projects is an effort by the Sewage Commission-Oroville Region in Northern California that received $3.8 million in grant funding to replace and improve infrastructure for collecting, treating and reusing wastewater. These upgrades will improve water quality in the Feather River – a critical water supply source for the region and the state. Additionally, this project will enhance riparian and fish habitat, improve fish passage and protect the endangered spring-run Chinook salmon and other fisheries of the Feather River.

A multi-benefit project in the Lower Cosumnes River watershed that addresses weather extremes brought on by climate change was awarded $1 million. Water will be diverted from a nearby water supply canal during heavy storm periods and spread on 129 acres of agricultural land, allowing recharge of the groundwater basin for later use during dry periods. The land also provides habitat for the endangered Swainson’s hawk. The project demonstrates an innovative technique referred to as Flood Managed Aquifer Recharge, as well as strong collaboration between local public agencies and non‐governmental stakeholders to develop innovative solutions on a broad, regional scale. 

A $1.32 million grant was awarded to the Merced Irrigation District to reduce flood risk and provide more reliable drinking water supplies for the disadvantaged communities of Le Grand and other surrounding areas. The project will redirect and control flood flows by constructing a set of gates in the Le Grand Canal, a critical water supply and flood control facility operated by the district. This project will also create groundwater recharge opportunities to increase water reliability and security for the local communities.

National City located in San Diego County was awarded $3.7 million in funding for a multi-benefit community enhancement project in Paradise Valley Creek. The project will divert stormwater runoff to a biofiltration basin where pollutants will be removed and replace old concrete lining in the creek with more fish-friendly natural streambank reinforcement. The project will reduce flood hazards to 16 homes located along the creek.

A grant of more than $1 million was awarded to the Central Coast Wetlands Group and City of Salinas. The entities are partnering to make critical improvements to existing stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, enhancing the ability of these systems to capture, store and convey water for various beneficial uses and reduce downstream flooding. These efforts will also help in protecting regional groundwater supplies currently used for drinking water and agricultural irrigation and establish a water supply reserve that can be used during dry conditions.

The Mariposa County Resource Conservation District was awarded approximately $700,000 for the Bootjack Fire Station Water Storage Project, which will increase the amount of water locally available to fight the increasing number of wildfires in the watershed.

With today’s announcement, nearly $175.1 million has been awarded to date, and the remaining award of about $37 million for the Los Angeles/Ventura funding area will be announced in the near future.

For more information, visit the IRWM Grant Program webpage.

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