Department of the Interior awards 46 million to 12 California projects for drought preparation

By on July 6, 2017

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced late last week that the Bureau of Reclamation would be awarding $4.6 million in funding to 12 California agencies and businesses to proactively prepare for and address drought in their communities. Though the state received abundant precipitation in the 2016-17 water year – after a prolonged five-year destructive drought – water authorities have been quick to note that the next drought is not a matter of if, but rather when, it will occur.

In announcing the funding of the projects, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said, “Drought continues to have serious adverse impacts throughout the West. Reclamation and its partners have been leaders in combating this drought for a hundred years. The newest infusion of Reclamation funds announced today will help communities in five states prepare for and respond to drought.”

The funds being awarded to California’s 12 water projects are part of a total $6.9 million announced by the Interior Department and awarded through the Bureau of Reclamation to a total of 17 entities in the western United States to prepare for and address drought in advance of a crisis. The federal funding will be leveraged to support more than a total of $47.9 million for the development of drought contingency plans and implementation of drought resiliency projects. California’s 12 projects represent a total project cost of $29.8 million.

As part of Reclamation’s Drought Response Program funding is made available for the implementation of mitigation actions through drought resiliency projects. Priority is given to projects that are supported by a drought planning effort, supports a proactive approach to droughts and will aid water users for drought contingency planning.

The five California projects receiving funding to develop drought contingency plans following Reclamation’s competitive process are:

  • Bella Vista Water District (Redding, California) Reclamation funding: $86,580; Total Project Cost: $173,160
  • City of Rialto, California Reclamation funding: $200,000; Total Project Cost: $404,474
  • Schafter-Wasco Irrigation District (Wasco, California) Reclamation Funding: $200,000; Total Project Cost: $456,500
  • Sonoma County Water Agency (Santa Rosa, California) Reclamation Funding: $200,000; Total Project Cost: $501,196
  • Southern California Edison Company (California) Reclamation Funding: $100,000; Total Project Cost: $200,000

The seven California projects receiving grants for drought resiliency projects funding following Reclamation’s competitive process are:

  • Alameda County Water District (Fremont, California), Rubber Dam #3 Fish Ladder Reclamation Funding: $750,000; Total Project Cost: $7,121,600
  • Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe (Blue Lake, California), Development of a Smart Water Grid on Tribal Lands Reclamation Funding: $300,000; Total Project Cost: $600,000
  • City of Torrance, California, Torrance Van Ness Well Field Reclamation Funding: $750,000; Total Project Cost: $16,703,900
  • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians (Redwood Valley, California), West Fork Russian River Bank Stabilization and Habitat Restoration Reclamation Funding: $300,000; Total Project Cost: $600,000
  • Merced Irrigation District (Merced, California), Merced River Instream & Off-Channel Drought Habitat Project Reclamation Funding: $744,489; Total Project Cost: $2,707,763
  • Round Valley Indian Tribes (Covelo, California), Mill Creek Streamflow & Riparian Corridor Restoration Project Reclamation Funding: $689,101; Total Project Cost: $1,444,461
  • San Gabriel River Water Committee (Azusa, California), San Gabriel Inlet Structure Project Reclamation Funding: $300,000; Total Project Cost: $689,093

To view a complete list of the funded projects and their descriptions and to learn more about Reclamation’s Drought Response Program, go to: https://www.usbr.gov/drought.