U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell joined local leaders in Los Angeles Wednesday to announce $50 million in grants for projects to conserve water in a dozen western states, with the bulk of the funding going to drought-afflicted California.
The Bureau of Reclamation will dole out at least $23 million for seven water reclamation and reuse projects in California — which is in its fourth year of an extreme drought — plus another $6.5 million to other water projects in the state, Jewell said.
“In a time of exceptional drought, it is absolutely critical that states and the federal government leverage our funding resources so that we can make each drop count,” Jewell said at the Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in Van Nuys.
Jewell was joined by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Chief Sustainability and Economic Development Officer Nancy Sutley and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Estevan Lopez.
Lopez said bureau officials hope the funding “will help us leverage scarce resources between the state and federal governments to bring much-needed relief for the people and environment of California.”
“We commend the state of California for all the steps they have already taken to alleviate the impacts of the drought,” he said.
Sutley said the funding “will help cities like Los Angeles carry out our sustainability objectives, further build our local water supply and reduce our reliance on imported water.”
About $2.8 million of the grants for California will go to Southland projects, including ones in the San Gabriel Valley, Riverside and Orange County.
The recipients include:
— the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District in Monrovia, which will get $500,000 for replacing broken irrigation equipment, such as pipes and sprinkler heads;
— the Carson-based West Basin Municipal Water District, which is getting $300,000 for lawn replacement incentives and other landscaping programs;
— the Coachella Valley Water District, which will use its $1 million grant to replace concrete pipes with pressurized PVC pipes;
— the Western Municipal Water District in Riverside, which is getting $200,000 for its recharge basin project;
— the Municipal Water District in Orange County, which will get $299,956 for landscape improvement programs for residential and commercial properties;
— the Moulton Niguel Water District in Laguna Niguel, which is getting $300,000 for an advance water metering system; and
— Yucaipa, which is receiving $227,000 for a retention basin along the Wildwood Creek for capturing stormwater runoff to recharge groundwater.
Jewell said the federal government’s water conservation grants — part of the WaterSMART funding initiative that began in 2010 — “use the best available science to improve water conservation and help water resource managers identify strategies to narrow the gap between supply and demand.”
Another $2 million of the total $50 million in grants will go toward feasibility studies on water reclamation and reuse projects in California and Texas.
— City News Service