Los Angeles Times
May 20, 2015. 5:00 PM
California is getting about $33 million in federal money for water recycling, irrigation improvements and other conservation projects in a new round of funding for water and energy efficiency projects in Western states.
Few of the California projects, which are spread across the state, would provide immediate relief from the lingering drought. They are instead designed to boost local water supplies in the long-term and reduce farm irrigation losses.
In total, 12 states are getting nearly $50 million, distributed through ongoing programs in the federal budget.
U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who announced the grants Wednesday in Los Angeles, said the amount is relatively small compared with the need. Still, the money represents an increase of more than $10 million in congressional funding compared with the last fiscal year.
The biggest piece of California funding consists of Title XVI grants that will help pay for local water recycling and reuse projects. In Southern California, the grants include $5.25 million to expand a plant that treats brackish groundwater in the San Diego area, $5 million to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency to upgrade groundwater treatment and $4 million for a new sewage treatment plant in the Yucca Valley that will provide recycled water for local groundwater replenishment.
Grants under the WaterSMART program include $1 million to the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District to retrofit irrigation systems for large landscapes and $1 million to the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside County for a stormwater capture project. A few agencies, including the West Basin Municipal Water District in Carson, are getting money to supplement local cash-for-grass programs.