Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy
Pages tagged "water bond"

Your Opportunity to Shape State Funding Programs

The State Water Board is holding public meetings on the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, SB 445 Site Cleanup Subaccount Program, and Proposition 1 Groundwater and Drinking Water Programs. These are important funding programs, several of which are still in the very early development stages -- your participation can help shape the programs to ensure they meet community needs. In sum, these four programs represent more than $1 billion in state funding that could be used to address community drinking water challenges. We need to make sure the funding guidelines prioritize projects that address the needs of communities without safe drinking water, especially small communities that rely on contaminated groundwater as their sole source of drinking water. 

CWC is still shaping our own comments and policy positions for these programs, and we'd love to hear your ideas! Please RSVP to the upcoming meetings (the first one is today!) and share your thoughts on how these programs should be developed with the state board and CWC. We hope to hear from you during the comments process!

Scroll down for more info on each program and associated meetings.






  • State Water Board’s Groundwater Quality Funding
  • How Proposition 1 Groundwater Sustainability and SB 445 Site Cleanup Subaccount (SCAP) funding programs work together
  • Timeline for development of funding programs, project solicitation, grant agreements
  • Eligible applicants and projects
  • Solicit input on scope of the Proposition 1 Groundwater Sustainability and SB 445 Site Cleanup Subaccount programs
  • How and when to apply for funding
  • Solicit input on GWQF Pre-Application

SB 445 Site Cleanup Subaccount Program (SCAP)

The SCAP is unique because SB 445 allows for applicants who are not typically eligible to apply for grant agreements, such as private companies and individuals. It requires the State Water Board to consider whether there are alternative sources of funding for projects, so that the SCAP can focus on projects where no other funding options are available. SCAP projects are likely to be smaller than many projects funded by bonds and state revolving funds. There are at least two types of projects that are likely to present themselves when project solicitation occurs:  (1) Projects to address contaminated drinking water of unregulated sources, such as contaminated drinking water supplies with less than 15 connections; and (2) Projects to cleanup sources of contamination at “orphan sites”.  SB 445 requires that the eligible projects responsible party does not have the financial resources to implement a remedy.

Proposition 1 Groundwater Sustainability Program

Proposition 1 was passed by voters in November 2014 and provided $900 million for a groundwater sustainability program (Assembly Bill 1471, Chapter 10).  The State Water Board will administer $800 million to prevent and cleanup contamination of groundwater that serves (or has served) as a source of drinking water.  The funds can be provided as grants or loans.  Eligible applicants are public agencies, tribes, public utilities, non-profits, and mutual water companies.  Proposition 1 provides project prioritization criteria including threat to drinking water supply; potential for contamination to spread to nearby population areas; potential to enhance local water supplies; potential to recharge vulnerable, high-use basins; and projects for which there are no responsible parties or the responsible parties are unwilling/unable to pay for the cleanup.   Workshop participants will be asked for input on the scope of funding guidelines that staff will draft for further public review and input. The funding guidelines will be used as the basis for soliciting and selecting projects for Proposition 1 funding.

Where to get more information:

Groundwater quality funding (GWQF) information is available on the DFA website. The information describes and compares the funding programs, eligibility requirements, and timelines.

GWQF Fact Sheet:

GWQF PowerPoint:

SCAP Fact Sheet:

Sign-up for Email alerts for "Groundwater Quality Funding Assistance":

How to contact SWB:


Message phone: 1-800-813-Fund (3863)  






The State Water Board, Division of Financial Assistance, invites you to the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) and Proposition 1 Public Workshop to be held at three California locations in June 2015. Proposition 1 (Section 79724) allocates $260 million in funding for public water system infrastructure improvements and related actions to meet safe drinking water standards, ensure affordable drinking water, or both. 

The DWSRF Intended Use Plan (IUP) explains how the State Water Board intends to implement the DWSRF Program. The Draft State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2015-16 DWSRF (IUP) incorporates information regarding implementation of Section 79724 of Proposition

1. The three public workshops will provide State Water Board staff with an opportunity to answer questions and receive comments on the Draft SFY 2015-16 DWSRF IUP and the proposed Proposition 1 guidelines, which are posted online at:

The workshop dates and locations are as follows:


  Scheduled Date and Time Location Registration

Monday, June 22, 2015

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

11020 Sun Center Drive, Suite 200

Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

Thursday, June 25, 2015

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Fresno Regional Water Quality Control Board

1685 E Street

Fresno, CA 93706

Monday, June 29, 2015

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon

Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board

3737 Main Street, Room 200

Highgrove Room

Riverside, CA 92501


Due to limited space available, registration is recommended, but not required.  Individuals requiring special accommodations are requested to contact the State Water Board Contact identified at the end of this notice at least five (5) working days prior to the workshop(s).

Web cast will be available on June 22 only at:

Submission of Written Comments

If you are unable to attend and provide feedback at one of the workshops, interested parties are encouraged to submit their comments in writing to or at the address listed below. Written comments on the Draft SFY 2015-16 DWSRF IUP must be received by 12:00 noon on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Further information and the complete Notice of Public Workshops can be viewed at

If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Uyen Trinh-Le at (916) 440-7590 or send an email to

Written comments may be sent to the mailing address below:

State Water Resources Control Board
Division of Financial Assistance
1001 I Street, 16th Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814



Prop. 1 Water Bond Implementation Updates

The $7.545 billion water bond (Prop. 1) was approved overwhelmingly by California voters last November to direct critical resources towards state water supply infrastructure projects. That set aside at least $696 million specifically for disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities. Now, the task at hand is actually disbursing that money on the ground where it’s needed most. 

CWC’s Community Organizer Ryan Jensen attended a Prop. 1 town hall meeting organized by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (District 32) in Hanford earlier this month. The State Water Board explained that it would be administering Prop. 1. Drinking Water allocations through the existing State Revolving Fund (SRF) application system. The State Water Board encouraged applicants to submit fully developed application packages as soon as possible, as these would be prioritized for funding allocations. The State Water Board will provide application assistance if needed.

The State Water Board held three public workshops in Fresno, Riverside, and Sacramento this month to get feedback on funding program guidelines for the Small Community Wastewater program and provide updates on other program funding opportunities. CWC and our community partners attended and testified at workshops in Fresno and Sacramento. Community residents asked the State Water Board for details on how technical assistance will be provided and how funding will be allocated to small communities, including state smalls and communities on private wells. We will be developing written comments on the wastewater and drinking water guidelines with our allies and partners as part of the State Board’s public process. For information on how you can submit written comments, click here.  


Experts: California Water Bond a $7.5 Billion Drop in the Bucket

By Keeley Webster, The Bond Buyer
February 2, 2015

The $7.5 billion in bond authority California voters approved in November represents a fraction of what is needed to fund water projects in the state, experts told state lawmakers this week.

"The bond is a down payment on what needs to be done in California," Lester Snow, executive director of the California Water Foundation, told a bond oversight hearing Tuesday held by the Assembly's Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

"It gets us started, but it would be a mistake for anyone to think that now that we've passed this bond, our worries are over," said Snow, a former head of the California Natural Resources Agency.

Snow estimated the state would need $6 billion to $12 billion annually for water infrastructure projects.

The committee is charged with mapping out guidelines to deploy the money efficiently and with sufficient accountability to make sure the projects accomplish the bond's goals, according to Assemblymember Marc Levine, who chairs the committee.

"We agree that we need to be smart about the investments, but the money needs to get out the door," said Cindy Tuck, deputy executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. "We think efficiency is the key."

Some legislators questioned how voters will respond — given the state was in a serious drought when the bond measure was passed and remains there — if the state delays rolling out projects.

Despite recent rainfall the state is undergoing a very severe drought, the likes of which haven't been seen in 1,200 years, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell said Feb. 6 at a joint press conference in Sacramento with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

She announced that the federal government is setting aside $50 million in federal funds for Western states suffering from droughts, of which $29 million will go for a water reclamation project in California's Central Valley.

Brown bristled a bit in response to a question regarding skepticism voiced by legislators on both sides of the aisle that the $7.5 billion in water bonds will be well spent.

"We are doing our best to spend the money both wisely and quickly," Brown said. "No one wants to keep money in the bank, but we do want to spend it wisely."

Levine has been among those who have expressed skepticism.

"The history of water development in California has been witness to spectacular successes and devastating failures — often with respect to the same projects," Levine said. "We have sometimes seen one region benefit at the expense of another."

Speakers who testified at the bond oversight committee hearing put in plugs for their pet projects.

A battle already appears to be shaping up around whether the $2.7 billion earmarked for water storage projects merely pertains to groundwater or surface water storage projects as well.

The legislature has to approve bond money the governor has factored into his state budget proposal, but lawmakers do not get to choose specific projects. They allocate the money to various state agencies to figure out how the money is spent.

Brown's initial budget proposal for fiscal 2015-16 included $1.7 billion to implement what he called the Water Action Plan. Of that, $535.5 million would come from the $7.5 billion water bond.

The proposal includes $178 million for various watershed protection and restoration activities, $137 million for water recycling and desalination projects and $69 million for projects to improve drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

The state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office, which came out with its 29-page report outlining recommendations a day after the hearing, said Brown's proposals are generally consistent with the intent of the bond, but recommended steps "to better ensure that the most cost-effective projects are selected for funding and that sufficient oversight and evaluation is provided."

The largest chunk of Prop. 1 money, $2.7 billion, bypasses the legislature entirely. That amount — set aside in the proposition for water storage projects like dams, reservoirs and groundwater — falls under the purview of the California Water Commission.

The remainder of the money is earmarked as follows: $1.495 billion for watershed protection and restoration, $900 million for groundwater sustainability, $810 million for regional water management, $725 million for water recycling and desalination, $520 million for drinking water quality and $395 million for flood protection, according to the LAO.

The water commission's slice of the pie can only be used to cover costs related to the "public benefits" associated with water storage projects such as "restoring habitats, improving water quality, reducing damage from floods, responding to emergencies, and improving recreation," according to Anton Favorini-Csorba, an LAO fiscal and policy analyst, who testified at the hearing.

The LAO's report recommends the state legislature specify what portion and type of activities should be eligible for bond funding, including which water supply and water recycling benefits are "state-level public benefits."

Analysts stipulated that water supply benefits should not be considered state-level public benefits to the extent that they accrue to private entities, such as the ratepayers of a water system.

It recommended the practices aimed at evaluating cost-effectiveness be based on guidelines that insure consistent assumptions about physical conditions and benefits and consistent methods to evaluate benefits and measures of past performance by grantees as a criterion in the selection process.

The LAO also suggested all departments be required to submit staffing plans for all bond-related activities.

According to the report, only some of the administration's proposals for positions to support Proposition 1 activities specify whether they took declining workload from other bonds into account when determining positions needed.

The departments should also clearly outline how the legislature and public will be able to hold departments accountable for their outcomes.

It also asked that the Brown administration add additional information on bond expenditures to its bond website, and produce an annual report on progress implementing the bond.

Some speakers were already looking ahead to the need for additional funding.

"We should look at a water surcharge or fee on contaminants such as fertilizer," said Omar Carillo, a senior policy analyst for the Community Water Center.

Doug Obegi, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council Water Program, suggested that the guidelines should make sure that public tax dollars pay for public, not private benefits.

"This may not solve all of our problems, but I am excited about the opportunities this will give us," Tuck said. "California has an enormous need for water projects, so the key will be to effectively leverage this funding."

Levine, D-San Rafael, said the hearing was the legislature's first, but it won't be the last.

"The legislature plans to stay engaged in this process," he said.

Original story:

New Water Bond Advances Human Right to Water

August 14, 2014

Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or


New Water Bond Advances Human Right to Water

The Community Water Center supports a new bond that targets funding to small communities

Sacramento – A new $7.5-billion water bond passed Wednesday night is an opportunity to allocate resources to communities that lack access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water.

Community Water Center (CWC) advocates and partners were brought into last-minute negotiations between key legislative leaders and the Governor’s office to ensure the new bond, Assembly Bill 1471, emphasizes the human right to water and targets resources to impacted communities.

“Access to safe and affordable water is a basic human right,” said Susana De Anda, CWC Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder. “The Community Water Center supports this water bond because it plays a vital role in our efforts to ensure all Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water.”

The new water bond commits a minimum of $691 million for disadvantaged communities and prioritizes funding for small communities and regional collaboration.

“Many of the communities we work with have been without safe drinking water for years,” said Omar Carrillo, CWC Policy Analyst. “This bond allocates resources to the California communities whose drinking water supplies are at risk due to inadequate infrastructure. While not perfect, this new bond offers the best available alternative, because it focuses scarce resources where they are needed the most.”

The $7.545-billion water bond will replace an $11.1 billion bond that had previously been planned for the November ballot. California voters now have an opportunity to pass a water bond with focused resources to advance the human right to water.

“With the drought, countless communities that already had unsafe drinking water have seen conditions worsen, and some have lost their water source completely,” said De Anda. “Small, rural low-income communities and communities of color need financial and technical resources to address chronic drinking water problems that are only being magnified by the drought.”



Water bond analysis
The new water bond dedicates $520 million to projects that provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water. Of that $520 million, $260 million would fund drinking water infrastructure improvements and $260 million would go to waste water infrastructure. Both funds would give priority to projects that serve disadvantaged communities (DACs), especially small ones. Each fund also prioritizes projects that implement regional solutions and collaboration.

For the first time, this water bond would make state resources available to communities reliant on state small water systems and private wells, which had been excluded from most previous water bond financing. By including these small communities and prioritizing resources through a Small Community Grant Fund, this water bond would ensure that impacted communities have access to the public resources intended to create safe drinking water systems for all.

The bond established technical assistance resources to help communities leverage additional funding. It would also create a multi-disciplinary technical assistance program for small and disadvantaged communities.

The bond allocates $90 million for groundwater sustainability projects serving small DACs, as well as $81 million for regional water security, climate and drought-preparedness projects that benefit DACs.


Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or

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