The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is recommending that 25 water desalination projects receive $25 million in Proposition 50 grants.
Local agencies, water districts, academic and research institutions will be able to use the funds for construction, pilot and demonstration projects, research and development, and feasibility studies to increase new water supplies using desalinization.
The projects recommended for funding include desalination facilities in Marin, Alameda and San Bernardino counties. Pilot projects in Long Beach, Santa Cruz, San Diego and Los Angeles are among those that will receive grants under the proposed funding plan. Research and development activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the University of California, Los Angeles are included in the recommendations, as are feasibility studies by agencies in the Bay Area, Monterey, and Riverside County.
DWR will hold a public workshop in Sacramento on April 12 at 10 a.m. to inform those interested of the draft funding recommendations and to present information on the next steps for awarding and contracting.
Funding for the projects is available through Proposition 50, the Water Quality, Supply and Safe Drinking Water Projects, Coastal Wetlands Purchase and Protection Act passed by voters in 2002. Proposition 50 authorized the sale of $3.4 billion in general obligation bonds for a variety of water projects including coastal protection, the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, integrated regional water management, safe drinking water, and water quality.
In January 2005, DWR received 42 eligible applications requesting $71.3 million. The Department is recommending that the available $25 million under the current desalination grant cycle be used to fund 25 of these projects.
Approximately $11.5 million of the available funds will support ocean water desalination related projects and $13.5 million will support brackish water desalination related projects. Brackish water is a mixture of fresh and salt water, found in estuaries and some groundwater supplies.
A Desalination Review Panel was formed to help the state review the applications. The panel, comprised of members representing local, State, and federal agencies and other stakeholders, evaluated the proposals using the criteria established for the grant program.