YOLO COUNTY – Elation. That’s how Woodland City Manager Paul Navazio described his feelings upon receiving, hand-carrying and then depositing into the city’s bank an $18.5 million check from the State Water Resources Control Board. According to Navazio, the check is the first installment of approximately $143 million in low-interest state revolving fund loans to help fund the city’s share of the Davis-Woodland Water Supply Project (regional surface water project) and related improvements to the city’s water distribution system. The check was received by WDCWA on behalf of the city.
“The State meant ‘the check is in the mail’ quite literally,” said Navazio, pointing out that it’s rare to receive hard-copy checks for large sums in today’s age of technology. “Hand-delivering the check for deposit felt celebratory given the challenges we faced in securing such favorable financing for this project.” Navazio, the former chief finance officer for the City of Davis, has been involved with the project since its inception and was on the front end of both cities’ efforts to make the project affordable for local ratepayers.
Recently, the WDCWA, on behalf of the City of Davis, also received the first installment of a similar low-interest loan from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan – a check for just more than $10 million – to fund Davis’ share of the project.
“These low-interest loans will cover approximately 98 percent of the regional water project costs for Woodland, Davis and UC Davis,” said Dan Wolk, Mayor of Davis and WDCWA Director. “Collectively, they will save Woodland and Davis ratepayers approximately $133.5 million over the next 20 to 30 years, when compared to conventional municipal financing. That’s great for ratepayers.”
The revolving fund programs – Safe Drinking Water (SDWSRF) and Clean Water (CWSRF) – are funded primarily by the federal government through the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the state. The state also contributes funds to the program. The funds are considered “revolving” because local government agencies repay loans with interest to the program and the money is re-used to fund new projects in qualifying communities.
“Securing these loans was absolutely critical to the affordability of this project for our ratepayers, both present and future. It was a team effort and we could not have been successful without the efforts of many, including our board, staff members and state officials Senator Lois Wolk and former Assembly Representative Mariko Yamada. They have been steadfast advocates for the municipal, agricultural and environmental benefits of this project and we particularly acknowledge their efforts,” said Bill Marble, WDCWA Chair and Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Woodland.
“This low interest loan will reduce the costs for ratepayers and ensure that their money is spent wisely. The project will provide high quality drinking water for residents, improve the ecosystem health of the Delta where the water ultimately ends up, and advances our statewide water policy goals,” said Senator Lois Wolk in a statement last October, when the funds were authorized by the State Water Resources Control Board.
Woodland has two separate low-interest loans from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SDWSRF), the largest in the amount of $111.4 million to fund its share of the regional water project facilities. That funding agreement provides for a 20-year repayment period and a 1.7875 percent per year fixed interest rate. Woodland also received a separate $31.5 million SRF loan at the same interest rate to fund the capital costs of local water system improvements. Collective savings when compared to conventional financing are $75.7 million.
The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) authorized a $95.5 Million CWSRF loan for Davis’ and UC Davis’ shares of the regional water project. With a 1.7 percent interest rate and 30- year term, the loan provides a savings of $42.1 million for the City of Davis when compared to conventional municipal financing. Additionally, the City of Davis has a separately pending application for a $35.5 million SRF loan with similar terms to fund needed improvements to the city’s existing water distribution system. When approved, this loan will save the city $15.7M when compared to conventional municipal financing.
For more information, contact Dennis Diemer, General Manager of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency at (530) 747-8299.