YOLO COUNTY – Millions in federal funding are headed to Yolo County, thanks in large part to the efforts of local water suppliers seeking to minimize cost of service increases for their users. Reclamation District 2035 (RD 2035) and the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA) announced today that the United States Bureau of Reclamation has authorized $16.7 million toward the construction of a $39 million joint water intake facility on the Sacramento River. Of that amount, $8.3 million has been appropriated in the current fiscal year to allow construction in 2013. The balance of funding will be delivered as construction progresses.
According to RD 2035 General Manager Regina Cherovsky, the funding is in addition to $1.2 million the Bureau previously granted to pay for intake facility design and environmental work. The facility will replace RD 2035’s existing century-old intake, but will be jointly constructed and operated by RD 2035 and WDCWA for both agricultural and municipal uses. State-of-the-art fish screens will protect out-migrating salmonids and other threatened and endangered fish, while at the same time enhance the reliability of water deliveries to area farms and cities.
The intake is a cornerstone of WDCWA’s $245 million regional water supply project, an effort to deliver surface water to Woodland, and potentially Davis as well as UC Davis, by 2016. Project objectives include improving water supply reliability, the quality of drinking water and wastewater discharge, and reducing degradation of Yolo County groundwater supplies.
RD 2035 and WDCWA leaders were quick to credit federal, state and local elected officials for writing letters, initiating contact with federal agencies, and other activities in support of funding commitments and appropriations.
“I applaud the federal government for supporting this worthy project. This project improves drinking water quality for the residents of Yolo County, while also improving water quality in the Sacramento River and in the imperiled Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,” said State Senator Lois Wolk. “This is a rare opportunity to move forward a project that truly benefits both the water supply of this region and the ecosystem of the Delta.”
“This intake will reduce the environmental impacts associated with RD 2035 and WDCWA having separate diversion facilities. I am proud of the broad regional, state and federal support for the project’s potential to promote restoration of historical ecological conditions,” added State Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada. “It’s a win for the environment and our local economy.”
Officials from both cities emphasized the importance of developing regional partnerships and securing state and federal funding in their efforts to minimize increases to water rates.
“The joint intake facility is an exemplary model of a true public-private partnership. Historic agreements between the WDCWA and the Conaway Preservation Group have made it possible. The partnership will allow us to achieve very significant economies of scale in all facets of construction and operations, ultimately reducing the long-term cost of water for both agricultural and municipal users,” said Bill Marble, Woodland City Councilmember and WDCWA Chair. “The importance of this partnership to ours and future generations cannot be overstated,” he added.
In Davis, the City’s Water Advisory Commission (WAC) recommended that the city pursue a surface water supply to supplement its use of groundwater. The WAC also asked the city council to carefully compare the relative merits of a project with Woodland compared to purchasing water from West Sacramento. “As our city proceeds with its consideration, this is extremely valuable information from an overall project cost perspective,” added Davis Mayor and WDCWA Vice-Chair Joe Krovoza. “In Davis, we’re carefully evaluating project costs in relationship to impacts on water rates. Our cost assumptions have included federal and state funding for the joint intake with RD 2035. This news eliminates one significant cost variable – and in the right direction. Our primary goal remains an effective and affordable surface water system to supplement the sustainable use of our best groundwater.”
Woodland has approved all rate increases necessary to proceed with its share of the project, and will move forward regardless of Davis’ participation. “We’ve been active partners with RD 2035 in efforts to secure federal funding,” said Woodland Mayor and WDCWA Board Member Marlin “Skip” Davies. “We have a duty to our ratepayers to reduce project costs wherever possible, so WDCWA is also continuing to aggressively pursuing state and federal funding for the larger water supply project.”
For more information, contact Regina Cherovsky at (530) 662-1484, or Dennis Diemer, General Manager of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency at (530) 747-8299.