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California Department of Water Resources (DWR) is awarding $21.5 million in Proposition 50 grants to 24 water desalination projects.
The funds will be used by local agencies, water districts, academic and research institutions for construction, demonstration projects, research and development, and feasibility studies to increase the development of new water supplies using water desalination technologies.
The awarded projects include desalination facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Monterey, Orange, and Ventura counties. Pilot projects in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Contra Costa County, Kern County, and Imperial County are among those that will receive funds under this cycle of the desalination grants program. Research activities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Colorado School of Mines are included in the awarded projects, as are feasibility studies by agencies in San Luis Obispo and San Diego counties.
Funding for the projects is available through Proposition 50, the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act passed by voters in 2002. Chapter 6(a) of Proposition 50 (Water Code Section 79545(a)) authorized DWR to administer a $50 million desalination grant program.
The grant program aims to assist local public agencies with the development of new local potable water supplies through the construction of feasible brackish water and ocean water desalination projects and help advance water desalination technology. This is the second round of funding under this grant program.
In March 2006, DWR received 49 eligible applications. The total funds requested by these applications amount to approximately $57.5 million, while the total cost of the 49 proposed projects is $543.5 million. The available $21.5 million under the second desalination grant cycle will be used to fund 24 of these projects. Approximately $11 million of the available funds will support ocean and bay water desalination related projects and $10.5 million will support brackish water desalination related projects. The term "brackish" describes water with a high salinity level, found in some surface and groundwater supplies.
Desalination Review Panels were formed to help the State review the applications. The panels, comprised of members representing local, State, and federal agencies and other stakeholders, evaluated the proposals using the criteria established for the grant program.