After being formally invited last week to apply for a $2.2 billion low-interest loan through the Water Infrastructure Financing and Innovation Act (WIFIA), the Sites project Reservoir announced on Thursday that additional funding was being made available.
The California Water Commission (CWC) recently announced increased funding for Proposition 1 bond recipients, including $38 million for Sites Reservoir. This additional funding brings the total amount of funds from Proposal 1 to $875 million for the water storage project.
Project officials said more funds were available after another project pulled out of the bond program. As a result, CWC was able to increase investment for all projects to partially account for inflation and for projects like Sites Reservoir to compensate for previous funding shortages. The Sites Reservoir project was eligible for Proposition 1 funds because of its significant public interest, officials said.
The Site Reservoir Project, which has been underway for more than 60 years, is expected to transform Site Valley, located 10 miles west of Maxwell, where Colusa and Glenn counties meet, into a state of off-stream water storage facility that captures and stores stormwater into the Sacramento River – once all other water rights and regulatory requirements are met – to be released in critical dry years for a environmental use and for communities, farms and businesses across the state to use when needed, the call previously reported.
“Sites Reservoir has real momentum right now with the recent announcement of a WIFIA loan and now additional Proposition 1 funding,” Fritz Durst, chair of the Sites Project Authority, said in a statement. “We are grateful to the California Water Commission for being able to give Sites Reservoir and all storage projects a financial boost and look forward to delivering substantial benefits to California.”
Officials stressed Thursday that the site reservoir would not block any major river systems or block fish migration or spawning.
Last week, the Venues Project Authority said the $2.2 billion WIFIA loan, if approved, could also “significantly reduce costs for participants, making it more affordable for cities, farms and resource managers to have access to more water in dry years”.
The Sites Project Authority said Sites Reservoir is a “beneficiary-pays project”, which it says means the loan will be repaid by project participants, the appeal previously reported.
“The importance of this opportunity cannot be overstated,” Durst said in a previous statement. “We thank our federal partners and the Biden administration for supporting Sites Reservoir in such a meaningful way.”
Jerry Brown, executive director of Sites Project Authority, previously said WIFIA’s loan would cover about 49% of the total project cost. He said this specific loan would cover much of the local cost share. Brown said the state and federal cost share is separate and distinct from the WIFIA loan.
He confirmed with the appeal that the sites project manager will apply for the loan within a year.
“It is an 18 to 24 (month) process to close the loan and begin receiving funds to pay project costs,” Brown previously said in an email. “The interest rate on the loan is set at closing, so given the current interest rate environment, there is a strong desire to move quickly to limit interest rate risk.”
He said the WIFIA loan money would be a huge boost for the project.
“The impact is immediate as this loan represents a significant portion of the local dollars needed to support the project. This makes the project more affordable for our participating agencies,” Brown said. “That equates to a savings of about 10%, which for a project of this size is hundreds of millions of dollars. Affordability is key to moving sites forward. »