Over $350 million is being made available from the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) to support groundwater sustainability. DWR has released Final Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Grant Program. The funding support will be made available for the planning and implementation of efforts to assist in compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
“Through these investments, we will continue collaborating with our regional groundwater agencies to promote projects that provide multiple benefits while also improving groundwater supply and quality,” DWR Deputy Director of Integrated Watershed Management, Kris Tjernell said in a press release.
DWR will be providing funding to support the groundwater sustainability projects through at least two rounds of solicitations. More than $150 million will be provided to regional groundwater sustainability agencies during the first round of the process. Eligible projects for the grant funding include updates to existing groundwater sustainability plans, groundwater recharge projects, and other projects that support water supply reliability. Additional projects that are eligible for grant funding include those that prevent or clean up contaminated groundwater supplies that serve as a source of drinking water. Announcements for the first round of awards are expected to be released sometime in the Spring of 2022.
In the Fall of 2022, the second solicitation period is expected to open. More than $200 million will be made available for planning and projects in medium and high-priority groundwater basins. Funding for the grants will come from the voter-approved Proposition 68, any future budget allocations, and any remaining funds from the first round. Funds that remain after the second round will be distributed through future funding solicitations.
Other grant programs available to help address issues of water include the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program, which is currently accepting applications. Round 2 of the Proposition 1 Integrated Regional Water Management Grant Solicitation is also expected to open sometime in early 2022.