FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2015
David Rabbitt, NBWRA Chair
Sonoma County Supervisor
& Water Agency Director
North Bay Water Reuse Authority Applauds Senators Feinstein and Boxer for Introducing California Emergency Drought Relief Act
Bill includes recycled water funding provisions supporting reuse and storage opportunities
(Santa Rosa, CA) Today Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer (both D-Calif.) introduced the California Emergency Drought Relief Act, a bill with both short- and long-term provisions designed to help communities cope with the ongoing drought and combat future droughts. The bill is the product of months of meetings between Senator Feinstein and her staff, federal, state and local officials, environmental groups, water districts and other stakeholders including the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (NBWRA).
“The bill includes provisions on water loan and grant programs including Title XVI water recycling program reforms, and provisions providing for the deauthorization of inactive programs,” said Sonoma County Supervisor and Water Agency Director David Rabbitt, who also serves as chair of the NBWRA. “These are all aspects we have been advocating for that will directly benefit the member agencies of the North Bay Water Reuse Authority.”
The NBWRA is pleased to see the legislation includes several provisions that will directly help North Bay Area counties of Sonoma, Napa and Marin respond to drought conditions, including:
- The RIFIA loan program: Authorizes $200 million for the Reclamation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (RIFIA). This loan-guarantee program will allow water districts and municipalities to leverage loans and loan guarantees for water projects, reducing repayment loan costs by as much as 25 percent. This is modeled after TIFIA, a successful loan-guarantee program for transportation projects. Senator Boxer and Rep. Huffman have introduced legislation with a similar program.
- WaterSMART grant improvements: Authorizes $100 million in increased funds for the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program to help finance water reclamation and reuse projects as well as water efficiency initiatives. Rep. Huffman has introduced similar legislation that increases funding for WaterSMART. This provision would also create a new grant program for integrated regional water management, reclamation and recycling, with a maximum federal contribution up to $20 million or 25 percent of a project’s cost
- Title XVI water recycling program reforms: Authorizes $200 million in increased funds for the Bureau of Reclamation’s water recycling and reuse program (Title XVI) to help fund projects to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and naturally impaired ground and surface water.
- Ag conservation and groundwater recharge: Facilitates increased agricultural conservation and groundwater recharge. This provision authorizes Interior and other water users to pay irrigators to install drip irrigation or other technologies to conserve water, and receive in return the majority of the water conserved. A portion of the saved water must be used for groundwater recharge.
- Provisions providing for the deauthorization of inactive programs.
The bill will garner a hearing in September in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
See the full bill here at: California Emergency Drought Relief Act
For more information about the North Bay Water Reuse Authority, please visit http://www.nbwra.org
For more information about the North Bay Water Reuse Authority and its advocacy program, please visit http://www.nbwra.org/advocacy/2015-federal-advocacy/
Contact: David Rabbitt, NBWRA Chair
Sonoma County Supervisor & Water Agency Director
To contact NBWRA email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 235-8965.