CVWD Borrows $59 Million from EPA for Stormwater Control

By on February 11, 2020

The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a $59 million loan Friday to help finance two key stormwater projects.

The money was made available through the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA). CVWD will have 35 years to pay back the loan and the District will save an estimated $9.8 million compared to typical bond financing.

“These projects are vital to our ability to provide regional stormwater protection to the Coachella Valley,” said CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett. “Securing this loan means that we can undertake these important projects and reduce the financial burden to our customers by spreading it over time.”

The funding from the loan and other available sources will connect the flood channels from Sun City Palm Desert to Sun City Shadow Hills and increase the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel’s capacity for a possible 100-year flow. Both projects are expected to be completed by 2023.

“We are excited to support CVWD on this level,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division Director Tomás Torres. “Communities like the Coachella Valley experience real, on-the-ground benefits when they are able to improve critical water infrastructure for flood protection.”

To secure the WIFIA loan, CVWD sought its first credit rating and was awarded a triple A rating. Because of that high rating the loan carries a 1.96% interest rate and a long-term payout schedule.

“Paying for almost half of the costs of these two key projects with an ultra-low cost, long-term loan permits the District to preserve our financial flexibility,” said CVWD Finance Director Geoffrey Kiehl. “We appreciate the tremendous help that the EPA staff provided in guiding us through their loan application process.”

The Coachella Valley Water District provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.