EPA Awards $92 Million WIFIA Loan to Santa Clara Valley for Water Infrastructure Resilience

EPA Awards $92 Million WIFIA Loan to Santa Clara Valley for Water Infrastructure ResilienceSource: Google Street View
Nina Singh-Hudson
Published on November 21, 2023

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a $92 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Santa Clara Valley Water District in California, following an earlier allocation of $115 million aimed at improving water infrastructure resiliency, including seismic retrofit projects like Anderson Dam. The WIFIA program has, so far, loaned about $19 billion, funding over 110 projects and creating in excess of 135,000 jobs according to the EPA.

Radhika Fox, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, highlighted the connection between climate and water stress, especially in drought-prone regions. A sum of $50 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has been channeled towards resilience-building for water infrastructure across various U.S. communities, consistent with President Biden's Investing in America Agenda.

Providing cheap financing for project development activities is one of the beneficial elements of the WIFIA program. The Santa Clara Valley Water District is expected to save approximately $40 million and create around 600 jobs due to the WIFIA loan for planning and design.

"These loans reflect the commitment from federal lawmakers to invest in our nation's water infrastructure and allow Valley Water to finance major projects in a cost-efficient manner," Valley Water Board Chair John L. Varela praised the WIFIA program, in the EPA announcement.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is aiming to address long-term water storage capacity concerns via the Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Planning and Design Project. The financing is planned for a comprehensive planning and design process that includes soil and geological analyses and consideration of alternatives for the complex Pacheco Reservoir Expansion project.

On a separate note, the EPA announced the 7th round of WIFIA financing. This funding round offers $6.5 billion via WIFIA and $1 billion through the State Water Infrastructure Fund for America (SWIFIA), a loan program focused solely on State infrastructure financing authority borrowers. These initiatives are designed to invite billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and the creation of numerous jobs.