The California Water Commission (Commission) announced today that starting March 14, 2017, proponents of new water storage projects in California may submit applications for funding of public benefits under the water bond approved by California voters in 2014.
Proposition 1 — the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act — a $7.5 billion water bond for investments in the state’s water management systems, includes $2.7 billion for public benefits related to new water storage projects. Those public benefits include ecosystem improvements, water quality improvements, flood control, emergency response and recreation.
The application period opens following approval this week by the California Office of Administrative Law (OAL) of the regulations governing the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP). Approval of the regulations is the culmination of a two-year public process driven by stakeholder input and keeps the Water Commission on track to deliver on time what voters authorized when they overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1. The Commission intends to continue with a robust public process as the regulations are implemented, so the criteria developed puts the State in the best position to fund projects. Throughout 2017, the Commission staff will accept and review applications, reporting regularly to the Commission at its monthly public meetings.
Through the WSIP, the Commission will fund the public benefits of water storage projects that improve the operation of the state water system, are cost effective, and provide a net improvement in ecosystem and water quality conditions. The program will support the California Water Action Plan and its call for more reliable and resilient water resources. The WSIP represents the state’s largest investment in new water storage projects in decades.
The application period for the WSIP will be open from March 14, 2017 to August 14, 2017. To assist potential applicants, the Commission has scheduled an application assistance workshop on March 30, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in the Klamath hearing room on the second floor of the California Environmental Protection Agency located at 1001 I Street, Sacramento. The Commission will schedule additional workshops, targeting specific application elements, to further assist applicants.
The nine-member California Water Commission is charged with advising the director of the California Department of Water Resources, approving the Department’s rules and regulations, and furthering development of state policies that support integrated and sustainable water resources management.