Half-Billion in Federal Funding Announced for California Water Infrastructure

  • by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Feb 20, 2024
  • Water News

SAN FRANCISCO, CA– Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced over half a billion ($510,054,000) from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for California drinking water and clean water infrastructure upgrades. This historic funding is part of over $50 billion in water infrastructure upgrade investments from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – the largest investment in American history. Almost half of this funding will be available as grants or principal forgiveness loans, ensuring funds reach disadvantaged and underserved communities most in need of investments in water infrastructure. This vital funding will support essential water infrastructure that protects public health and treasured water bodies across the state.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda continues to transform communities for the better with this latest infusion of funds for critical water infrastructure projects,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With $50 billion in total, the largest investment in water infrastructure in our nation’s history, EPA will enable communities across the nation to ensure safer drinking water for their residents and rebuild vital clean water infrastructure to protect public health for decades to come.”

“All people deserve the peace of mind that the water they drink, swim and bathe in, and use to feed their families is safe, readily available, and clean,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is making this a reality for tens of millions of Americans throughout the Pacific Southwest, especially those that need it the most. In partnership with communities and state leaders, we’re investing in cutting-edge technology, infrastructure, and nature-based solutions to provide sustainable, clean water that will improve the health and quality of life for communities and the environment.”

“This will be a massive injection into our strategy for getting more people clean drinking water,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “My administration has already improved access for 2 million Californians and invested hundreds of millions of dollars to ramp up this work, and this new investment will significantly boost these efforts. Our partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration, and the work of California’s congressional and senate delegations, have delivered in a big way for Californians.”

“The Biden-Harris administration continues to deliver historic investments in American infrastructure, and the over half a billion in grants for water upgrades across the state is a significant win for Californians,” said U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler. “This bipartisan water infrastructure investment will help build out programs to improve storm drainage, replace aging pipes, and guarantee access to safe drinking water free of contaminants like PFAS.”

“Every community should have clean, reliable water infrastructure for drinking water, sanitation, and flood mitigation, but far too many cities and towns across California lack adequate water systems,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “This robust federal investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law builds on my goals as chair of the subcommittee responsible for clean water access to ensure we provide safe and affordable water for all Americans, including our most vulnerable communities in California.”

Communities across the country are facing urgent water infrastructure challenges. Many cities and towns have aging water infrastructure – old, broken, or lead pipes carrying drinking water and wastewater treatment plants needing major upgrades. Some communities struggle to maintain adequate stormwater infrastructure to manage flood impacts from climate change effectively; others need to upgrade their water treatment to address emerging contaminants like PFAS.

The funding EPA announced for California is part of a $5.8 billion investment through the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF), one of EPA’s signature water investment programs. This multi-billion-dollar investment will fund state-run, low-interest loan programs to address critical challenges, with $2.6 billion going to the Clean Water SRF for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and $3.2 billion going to the Drinking Water SRF for drinking water infrastructure nationwide. Today’s announcement includes allotments for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law General Supplemental funds and Emerging Contaminant funds for SRF programs for fiscal year 2024. EPA anticipates announcing allocations for billions of dollars in additional resources for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Lead Service Line Replacement fund later this Spring.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Action in California

Since 2022, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has injected over $1.6 billion ($1,625,045,000) into water infrastructure projects across California, protecting public health, preserving water resources, and creating jobs.

With the help of more than $3.3 million of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding, Walnut Ranch, a Colusa, California community impacted by multiple environmental and health issues and designated as disadvantaged, will improve water conservation and protect its drinking water supplies. Thanks to this funding, the community will install water meters, replace old and asbestos cement pipes, install fire hydrants, and effectively eliminate access to two arsenic-contaminated wells that are no longer in use. These upgrades will allow Colusa to consolidate drinking water systems and deliver safer, more reliable drinking water to this community.

To view some stories about how Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has impacted communities across the country, access the Investing in America’s Water Infrastructure Storymap here. For additional projects, see this Quarterly Report.

Background

The Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and the Clean Water State Revolving Funds have been the foundation of water infrastructure investments for over 30 years, providing low-cost financing for local projects across America. SRF programs are critically important for investing in the nation’s water infrastructure. They are designed to generate significant sustainable water quality and public health benefits nationwide. The inherent structure of revolving loans amplifies their growth by making the payment of principal and interest on loans available to address future needs.

For more information, including state-by-state allocation of 2024 funding and a breakdown of EPA State Revolving Fund funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, please visit the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund website and the Clean Water State Revolving Fund website.

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