Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

March 2017 CWLN Newsletter

Funding Update on Prop 1

Proposition 1 (Prop 1), also known as the Water Bond, passed in 2014, authorizing $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. The legislature has appropriated $2 billion from Prop 1 for the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to administer.

At the February 22nd State Water Board hearing in Sacramento, staff provided an update on the status of each of the funding programs under Prop 1, as well as the overall accomplishments of the Water Bond so far. The Division of Financial Assistance staff reported that in the calendar year 2016, the State Water Board executed 123 agreements totaling $287 million. They also reported that each of the Prop 1 funding programs have been oversubscribed, and that SWRCB is working to process the overwhelming amount of applications they’ve received and execute the approved projects. A list of all of the projects funded so far by the State Board through Proposition can be found here. See below for more information about each funding program.

Proposition One funding programs administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB):

  Funding Program

Funding Amount

Funding Used

Technical Assistance funding used

Status

Small Community Wastewater

$260 million

$32 million executed in agreements in 2016; $13 million executed thus far in 2017.  $170 million in submitted/in progress apps.

$47 million (for DW and wastewater combined)

Ongoing.

 

Projecting over $50 million to be executed in 2017.

Water Recycling

$625 million*

Over $1 billion in grant requests and over $2 billion in loan requests. $142 million in executed grants so far.

-         

Funding requests exceed funding availability.

Drinking Water

$260 million

$44 million executed in 2016. $227 million in submitted or in progress apps = $271 million

$47 million (for DW and wastewater combined)

Projecting $127 million to be executed in 2017.

Stormwater

$200 million

$9.6 million awarded for planning and $105 million awarded for implementation

 

=$114.6 million. Over 50% of implementation directly benefits Disadvantaged Communities.

Executed $1 million in TA

Round 2 funding to start in late 2018.

Groundwater Sustainability

$800 million**

30 projects with signed agreements totaling $216 million. $110 million more expected in agreements May - Sept 2017.

Executed $3 million in TA

2nd round of solicitation expected in October 2017

 


Community Spotlight!

An interview with Community Water Leaders Network Member Jim Maciel of Armona CSD about Armona’s Arsenic Treatment Plant project:

How long has Armona had Arsenic problems?

Our problem started on Jan. 1, 2001 when the EPA lowered the arsenic MCL from 50ppb to 10ppb, putting us out of compliance.

How and when did your Arsenic treatment plant project come about?

In Oct. of 2008, the EPA issued an Administrative Order requiring the District to develop a plan and take corrective action to come in compliance or face a $35,000 per day fine.

What is the status of the project right now?

As of Mar. 13th, the project is 82% complete with an anticipated completion date of May 6, 2017.

Where did the funding for the project come from?

Funding is coming from a $5,000,000 grant and $4,200,000 zero percent, 30 year loan from the SWRCB Revolving Fund.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting this project done?

Initially, finding a suitable location was a problem.  On our third attempt we were able to drill a test well to 1800 ft. that indicated suitable water stratas between 750 and 1100 feet. Once the location was approved, the next hurdle we had to overcome was getting the design work for the well and treatment plant approved by the Water Board and paying off an existing $1,600,000 loan with the USDA in order for the State to fund the project. We went through the bid process and were fortunate in awarding the bid to Specialty Construction of San Luis Obispo and they have been doing an excellent job constructing the facility.  We are currently running about 45 days behind schedule due to the rains - but we are not complaining.

What has Armona CSD done really well, either in getting the project going or managing the project?

In 2008, the Board of Directors authorized Prop. 218 hearings with our residents and approved a 5 year, 5 step increase in our water rates in order to financially justify this project. Because our residents agreed to these increases, we were able to prove to the State that we can purchase, operate the facility and pay back the loan. Our operators, Granger Water Specialties and our engineers at Provost and Pritchard have done an excellent job in managing the project and keeping change orders to a minimum.

What have you learned from the project so far?

Obtaining a reliable source of water and being able to treat and filter the water to bring the water into compliance with State and Federal requirements can be a very challenging job. We look forward to the day this facility is providing safe, affordable drinking water to the residents of Armona.


Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: March 23, 4-5 PM

Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. To join, simply dial (571) 317-3122, when prompted, enter the access code 611-041-917 followed by the pound key (#). Press # when prompted for the Audio Pin. Let Kristin know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  1. Member updates and questions
  2. Regional and state updates and questions
  3. Monthly discussion topic: Staffing and consultants

 


2017 to be big year for safe, affordable water legislation!

This legislative session is already proving to be a big year for safe, affordable drinking water in California. Several legislators have introduced a long list of bills that will have impacts on water management in California. Here are a few of the key bills that Community Water Center is sponsoring or tracking closely:

SB 623 (Monning): would establish a new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to be housed at the State Water Resources Control Board. The Fund, once implemented, would be used to meet long-standing gaps in funding such as operation and maintenance costs that have prevented so many communities from being able to provide reliable safe drinking water to their constituents.

AB 560 (Salas): would formally outline the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to provide water systems principal forgiveness/grants and 0% financing for water projects through Drinking Water State Revolving Fund if paying back loans would increase water rates to unaffordable levels.

SB 427 (Leyva): would by July 1, 2020, require a public water system to provide the timeline for replacement of known lead user service lines in use in its distribution system to the State Water Board.

AB 277 (Mathis): establishes the Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Fund to allow counties and nonprofits to provide low-interest loans and grants to eligible applicants for drinking water needs and wastewater treatment while still having centralized oversight from the State Water Resources Control Board.

SB 252 (Dodd): creates additional requirements on people applying to drill new wells (not replacement wells) within critically overdrafted basins such as requiring neighbors to be notified, requiring public hearings, and requiring a public comment period.

AB 305 (Arambula): would require public schools to conduct a one-time survey of access to drinking water, including the number and condition of water access points. This data would be housed at the State Water Resources Control Board, and would be used to prioritize schools for funding for improved water access grants.

AB 1668 (Friedman): would revise the requirements of urban and agricultural water management plans and direct the Department of Water Resources to develop requirements for rural water management plans.


Upcoming events:

  • March 21, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Online RCAC training. Regulation Basics: Public Notification. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • April 1, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop hosted by the Community Water Leaders Network and sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Community Water Center and Self Help Enterprises. Cafe 210 in Visalia.
  • April 5, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM. First Annual California Funding Fair. California Rural Water Association office in Sacramento or via webcast. Register for the Sacramento in person event or to live stream the webcast here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1032 (Note that there will be a funding fair in Tulare in June)

 

More events can be found on the Community Water Leaders online calendar at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network


Save the Date! Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop April 1st

Don’t miss the Community Water Leaders Network’s first official workshop! Join us for a free, one-day workshop featuring experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national science non-profit. This workshop is designed for small drinking water systems in the Central Valley and will help prepare directors and staff to actively participate in Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development in your area. The workshop will cover:

  • What is a GSP and why is it important for your community?
  • How does the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) define “sustainability” and how will it be measured?
  • What is a water budget and what can it tell you?
  • What can a groundwater model do, and what can’t it do?
  • What kind of questions should you ask consultants?

 

Date: April 1, 2017

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM (Lunch provided)

Where: Café 210, Assembly Room (210 W. Center Ave, Visalia)

Space is limited to register today by emailing Kristin at kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org or calling 559-733-0219.


1,2,3-TCP Comment Period Has Started!

The time has come! After extensive work and a lot of pressure from across the state, the State Water Board is poised to set the legal limit, or MCL, for 1,2,3-TCP in drinking water.

The State Water Board’s draft regulations are now open for public comment, and I’ve got great news: the standard they’ve officially proposed is the most health-protective level -- 5 parts per trillion! That’s exactly what we asked for! But there’s still a strong chance the polluters, who will be responsible for covering the costs of treatment, will try to roll back this health-protective limit, so we need your support.

The public comment period is THE critical time for residents and water boards like you to participate and tell the Board to fully adopt their proposed 5 part per trillion MCL.

To ensure our communities are protected from this cancer-causing pesticide ingredient, you can submit comments, sign a petition, or come up to Sacramento for the public hearing on April 19th. We will be coordinating rides for residents and stakeholders who want to travel up to Sacramento to participate in the hearing.

You can submit comments by email, fax, or mail. You may find a sample letter template, an online petition, and more information here.


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? Contact Kristin Dobbin at 559-733-0219 or kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org .
http://www.communitywatercenter.org/

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