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Local Leaders Optimistic Federal Funds Will Flow for Water Project

DAVIS, CA – Despite a harsh budget climate in Washington, D.C., Woodland and Davis leaders reinforced support last week for federal funding for a $42 million joint water intake facility on the Sacramento River while making a solid case for federal assistance for the regional surface water project it is designed to support.

In two short days WDCWA Chair and Woodland City Council member Bill Marble and Davis Mayor and WDCWA Vice-Chair Joe Krovoza participated in 17 meetings with federal agencies and congressional leaders to bolster support for fish screen program funding for the water project’s intake facility. Additionally, important discussions were held regarding potential federal programs for low-cost project financing assistance.

The intake, which is to be jointly constructed and operated by the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency (WDCWA) and Reclamation District 2035 (RD 2035), is a cornerstone of the Agency’s regional surface water project to serve Woodland, and, if approved by its voters, Davis. WDCWA will utilize 20 percent of the joint intake’s capacity and is currently required to contribute $13.2 million toward the project. However, additional federal and state assistance could be used to offset that amount. The cost estimate for the two cities to build their own intake was approximately $26 million, thus underscoring the importance of the joint project with RD 2035 and the government funding from the fish screen program.

The facility will replace the largest unscreened intake on the Sacramento River north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. For that reason, the project has earned broad support from federal officials and agencies interested in protecting the health of the Delta and associated waterways.

The United States Bureau of Reclamation previously authorized $16.7 million toward the construction of the joint intake. Of that amount, $8.3 million has already been appropriated. A key objective of the Agency’s visit was to obtain assurances that the remaining funds will appropriated in next year’s federal budget. This will allow construction to begin in 2014 which will coincide with the construction timeline for the regional surface water project.

“Although the federal budget is constrained, our economy is ultimately strengthened when we invest in critical infrastructure like this improved water intake facility. I want to thank local officials in Davis and Woodland for aggressively pursuing this vital funding," said Congressman John Garamendi. "We need to protect the health of the Delta to sustain jobs and livelihoods, and the fish screen program is an important piece of the puzzle."

Representative Garamendi, who represents the cities of Davis and Woodland, is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water and the Environment and a leader of congressional efforts to ensure full funding for the federal fish screen program through the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

In addition to Representative Garamendi, Marble and Krovoza held meetings with the offices of Senators Boxer and Feinstein, Representatives Matsui, Bera, LaMalfa, and McClintock, the offices of Representatives Mike Thompson and Jeff Denham, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee, the House Energy & Water Development Subcommittee, and the Office of Management and Budget, among others.

“We came away with assurances of support for the joint intake,” said Marble. “We also have renewed optimism that our needs for the regional surface water project are well understood, and that our federal leaders and partners are committed to assisting our efforts in identifying federal funding that could be used to offset our costs. We remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce the impact on local ratepayers.”

“The meetings were very positive,” reports Krovoza. “We continue to receive support for the intake funding, which is very encouraging given the importance of federal funding to reduce project costs to our community. We’re confident there is a commitment at the federal level to ensure that funding for the intake in as timely a manner as possible.”

For more information, please contact WDCWA General Manager Dennis Diemer at (530) 747-8299.

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