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DWR announces grants for Groundwater Sustainability for Disadvantaged Communities and GSPs
After receiving 78 grant applications for assistance with groundwater sustainability projects that directly benefit severely disadvantaged communities and for local agency development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs), the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced $85.8 million in grants throughout the state. The grants are funded by Proposition 1 — The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 — passed in 2014 and have been awarded on a competitive basis.
“Groundwater is an important water supply, particularly during times of drought when as much as 60 percent of the state’s water needs may be supplied by groundwater,” said Karla Nemeth, DWR director. “Many basins have suffered from over-drafting for decades and it will take decades to bring them back into balance. It’s critical that communities have plans to replenish their groundwater when conditions are wet and ensure supplies stay clean.”
Proposition 1 authorizes $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds to fund ecosystems and watershed protection and restoration, water supply infrastructure projects, including surface and groundwater storage, and drinking water protection. Of that amount $900,000,000 has been earmarked for groundwater sustainability.
Of the $85.8 million proposed for awards they include:
• $16.2 million is for severely disadvantaged communities to support groundwater sustainability planning and management.
• $69.6 million is for local agency GSP development
• $3.4 million is tentatively awarded to three basins. These awards will be held pending a further review of their eligibility.
DWR is now recommending that all of the 78 applicants receive all or at least a portion of the funds they requested, pending public comments and review of those comments. All public comments will be reviewed and considered before the grant awards are finalized in late February. The full list of grant applications submitted to DWR are available here.
A 15-day public comment period began Feb. 6. Comments can be submitted via email to: SGWP@water.ca.gov or by U.S. Postal Service to:
Financial Assistance Branch
Division of Integrated Regional Water Management
Department of Water Resources
901 P Street
P.O. Box 942836
Sacramento, CA 94236-0001