CLWA eyes state funding proposed for water projects

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While local water officials listened to some disheartening news from lobbyists about the stalled status of federal water issues, they also got some promising news at the state level with regards to more than $3 billion in available funding for various water projects.

Members of the Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Legislative Committee were updated a week ago by state and federal lobbyists hired to represent the agency’s interests in water-related legislation.

Dennis K. Albiani, of the lobby group California Advocates Inc., briefed committee members about a potential state funding package emerging in Sacramento.

Both the Senate and Assembly have introduced legislation to put a bond on the June 5, 2018 ballot to address environmental priorities, Albiani told the committee.

“The two proposals (before legislators) AB 18 and SB 5 will ultimately be merged, but currently they each contain slightly over $3 billion,” he said in a memo addressed to the committee.

Both bills speak generally to environmental protections of land and water, but with regards to water there could also be a financial assist for local water managers.

A quick scan of the types of water projects to be considered for funding has piqued the interest of local water officials.

“There are some areas of interest to the agency,” Dirk Marks, CLWA’s water resources manager, told The Signal Monday

Two state funds, each set at $250 million, are earmarked for water initiatives being pursued by the agency.

“There is a possibility of funding for water recycling and groundwater sustainability,” Marks said. “These are two areas we would certainly be interested in, should the legislation get passed.”

The proposed bills, Albiani pointed out in his memo last week, include funds to create trails and acquire land for several environmental purposes.

He said land acquisition could occur for wildlife corridors and habitat for threatened and endangered species. The endangered and state-protected unarmored threespine stickleback, for example, is a fish many local agencies are having to confront as they move forward with their respective projects.

But, of specific interest to the CLWA, he pointed out, was that half of the funding expected to be made available includes about $1.5 billion for clean drinking water and drought preparedness, as well as about $500 million for flood protection and repairs.

More specifically in the water and flood protection areas, SB 5 alone includes:

– $375 million for projects that improve water quality, or help provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water.  In the case of SCV, the mission of the CLWA is to provide reliable, quality water at a reasonable cost.

– $375 million for integrated regional water management planning projects that respond to climate change and contribute to regional water security.

– $375 million for groundwater quality protection and cleanup projects.


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