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Published on February 21, 2024
California Scores Over $500 Million from Biden-Harris Admin for Water Infrastructure RevampSource: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

California is gearing up for a major overhaul of its water infrastructure, thanks to a hefty check from the Biden-Harris administration. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that the Golden State is set to receive over half a billion dollars - that's $510,054,000- to revitalize its drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems. This funding boost is part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda and is the latest chunk of a monumental $50 billion being poured into water infrastructure nationwide.

This isn't just about fixing pipes and pumps. It's a game-changer for those living on the margins. Nearly half of these funds are earmarked as grants or loans that don’t need repaying, so the disadvantaged and underserved communities get the help they truly need, said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, according to the EPA’s announcement. He touted it as the largest investment in water infrastructure in U.S. history and a major step towards ensuring safer drinking water and upgraded clean water infrastructure.

California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the massive funding as critical support for the state’s strategy to improve drinking water access, which has already seen progress for over 2 million Californians. “This new investment will significantly boost these efforts,” Newsom confirmed.

U.S. Senator Laphonza Butler highlighted the bipartisan effort behind these water infrastructure investments, stating, “This bipartisan water infrastructure investment will help build out programs to improve storm drainage, replace aging pipes, and guarantee access to safe drinking water free of contaminants like PFAS.” Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla emphasized the federal injection's importance in securing safe and affordable water for all Americans, "including our most vulnerable communities in California."

Infrastructure woes have strained many communities dealing with old, busted, or lead-filled pipes and wastewater plants desperately needing an overhaul. Some areas also need better flood management in response to extreme weather, while others must grapple with contaminants like PFAS in their water supply.

The lion's share of the funds, as part of the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (SRF), will fuel loan programs tailored to address these urgent needs. On the ground, this money translates into tangible projects like those in Colusa, California, where more than $3.3 million will overhaul water systems for the disadvantaged community of Walnut Ranch, ousting arsenic-laced water wells from use.

For more details on the ongoing and future impact of the investments, those interested can check out the EPA's Investing in America's Water Infrastructure Storymap and the Quarterly Report available on their websites.