There are multiple significant water developments that will be taking shape over the course of 2019. California will be starting the year off in much better condition in terms of snowpack, as the state experienced several early winter storms that brought record levels of rain in some areas. Legislative and infrastructure improvements will also begin to materialize.
There is hope in building on the momentum of the California Water Commission’s approval of spending $2.5 billion on eight water storage projects. The largest amount that was awarded was $816 million, to be used in the construction of Sites Reservoir. Project planning continues to ramp up, on the heels of an announcement from the US Department of Agriculture that it would be loaning $449 million to the project. The Sites Project Authority will be reviewing the amount that stakeholders will be investing in in the project over the course of 2019. The goal is to have critical permits in place by the end of 2021.
Another important water development comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be clearing up confusion related to the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The new simplified version of WOTUS is expected to go into effect sometime in 2019 and is intended to provide better regulatory certainty. The new version of the rule seeks to restore more authority to state and local governments and remove federal jurisdiction over many ditches and streams that only hold water when it rains.