The California Water Boards' Annual Performance Report - Fiscal Year 2010-11
What We Do and How We are Doing
THE STATE WATER BOARD FUNDS
The State Water Board provides financial assistance through various State and federal loan and grant programs to help local agencies, businesses, and individuals meet the costs of water pollution control, development of locally available sustainable water supplies, and cleanup. This funding is made available for local and regional projects that can include construction of municipal sewage and water recycling facilities, remediation for underground storage tank releases, watershed protection, nonpoint source pollution control, and other water protection projects.
- Underground Storage Tanks Cleanup Fund, (Reimbursements)
- Loans and Grants Funding Sources
- Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Uses of Funds
Fund - How does financial assistance protect water quality?
The ongoing activities of pollution prevention and cleanup occur at some expense to the regulated community and the State. These activities can include the construction of treatment facilities, or the implementation of measures, to address or avoid water quality problems.
The State Water Board's financial assistance programs obtain revenue from various sources. In recent years, the State has made a concerted effort to improve water quality and water use efficiency, and maintain clean beaches through the passage of bond measures that provided funding for these critical areas. The State and Regional Water Boards have administered numerous loan and grant funding programs from these bond measures (most recently from Propositions 13, 40, 50, and 84) to improve water quality and water recycling, implement watershed programs, and monitor groundwater. In late 2008, sources of funding from these bond measures tapered off. With the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 (ARRA) on February 17, 2009, the State Water Board became one of several State agencies to receive ARRA funds. Under ARRA, an amount in excess of $280 million became available through California Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) that is administered by the State Water Board. Priorities are being focused on "shovel-ready" projects that will create jobs immediately.
For more information on ARRA.
The State Water Board develops and adopts project selection guidelines through a public process for its financial assistance programs. The State Water Board uses the guidelines and a variety of processes to solicit, review, and select projects for funding based on the goals of the program and the needs of project proponents (applicants). The solicitation process includes clearly defined criteria and is coordinated with other funding agencies, balancing the need for applicant assistance and making the funds available quickly. A web-based system called Financial Assistance Application Submittal Tool (FAAST) is available to provide an efficient means for applicants to apply for loan and grant funding offered by the Water Boards. Using FAAST, applicants can sign up for funding notifications, submit financial assistance applications, and monitor the status of their applications. The proposed projects are judged by review panels on their scientific and readiness merits. The review panels are made up of staff from the State and Regional Water Boards, partner agencies, and, occasionally, stakeholders, who are chosen to provide technical/scientific expertise, as well as regional and multiple agency perspectives. Loan and grant agreements are prepared for the selected projects.
The State and Regional Water Board use a multi-faceted approach to ensuring the success of the projects it funds, which includes establishing a clear understanding of what will be done and when, monitoring the project throughout implementation to ensure that work is conducted as specified, and Regional Water Board review and approval of all project submittals, including invoices. Water quality data collected under the funded projects are captured by the Water Boards' Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) or Groundwater Ambient Monitoring Assessment (GAMA) program.
The State Water Board has numerous financial assistance programs that provide funding for many purposes. Some are loan programs, while others are grant programs. Some funding programs are administered jointly with other agencies. An overview of selected Water Board financial assistance programs (beginning with the CWSRF that received ARRA funds) are provided below. For more information on these financial assistance programs and others.
Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF)
The construction of treatment facilities and other actions are necessary to address water quality problems and to prevent pollution of the State's waters.; Under the federal Clean Water Act, the State has established the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The CWSRF is a low-interest loan program for pollution control and prevention projects, including the planning, design, and construction of publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities, sewer collection systems, and water reclamation facilities; the correction of nonpoint source and stormwater pollution problems; and estuary enhancement activities. The CWSRF is comprised of both federal and State monies. California receives annual capitalization grants from U.S. EPA and provides a 20 percent match via State bonds and local funds.
For more information on CWSRF
Water Recycling Funding Program (WRFP)
The need for recycled water and other water use efficiency strategies is continually increasing as the State's population grows and water availability is reduced. The Water Recycling Funding Program (WRFP) was established to promote water recycling to augment fresh water supplies by providing technical and financial assistance to local agencies and other stakeholders to support water recycling projects and research. Between 1978 and 2008, the State passed several bond laws that provided loans and grants for the planning and construction of water recycling projects. The CWSRF is also available to provide loans for water recycling facilities that are planned for water supply purposes.
For more information on WRFP
Clean Beaches Initiative (CBI) Grant Program
Poor water quality at California beaches threatens the health of swimmers and the economy of the State. Beaches are posted with warnings when bacterial standards are exceeded and closed when a sewage spill has affected the beach. The Clean Beaches Initiative (CBI) Grant Program provides funding for projects that restore and protect the water quality and environment of coastal waters, estuaries, bays, and near shore waters. Funding priority is given to projects that reduce postings and closures caused by bacterial contamination. CBI grant funds are being used to (1) improve, upgrade, or convert existing sewer collection or septic systems to reduce or eliminate sewage spills, (2) implement urban runoff pollution reduction and prevention programs, and (3) implement management practices to eliminate upstream sources of bacterial contamination. Projects are recommended for funding by the Clean Beaches Task Force, which is comprised of beach water quality experts. Established as part of the Fiscal Year 2001-02 Budget to respond to poor water quality and the dramatic number of postings and closures revealed by monitoring at the State's beaches, the CBI Grant Program has been funded by: $32.3 million from Proposition 13 (2000); $43.7 million from Proposition 40 (2002); $23 million from Proposition 50 (2002); and $34 million from Proposition 84 (2006).
For more information on the CBI Grant Program.
Agricultural Drainage Loan Program (ADLP) and Agricultural Drainage Management Loan Program (ADMLP)
Nonpoint source pollution is the leading cause of water quality impairments in California, and agriculture is the leading contributor of nonpoint source pollution in the State. The Agricultural Drainage Loan Program (ADLP) and the Agricultural Management Loan Program (ADMLP) provide low-interest loans to city, county, district, joint powers authority, and other political subdivisions of the State involved with water management. These entities, in turn, make the funds available to individual growers for implementation of projects to address treatment, storage, conveyance, or disposal of agricultural drainage water to improve irrigation water use efficiency and water quality. The Bond Law of 1986 authorized $75 million to the ADLP; the Bond Law of 1996 authorized $30 million to the ADMLP.
Underground Storage Tank (UST) Cleanup Fund Program
Leaking petroleum underground storage tanks (USTs) are a significant source of impacts to groundwater and may pose potential threats to health and safety, such as exposure from impacts to soil and/or groundwater, contamination of drinking water aquifers, contamination of public or private drinking water wells, and inhalation of vapors. Federal and state laws require every owner and operator of a petroleum UST to maintain financial responsibility to pay for damages arising from their UST operations. The UST Cleanup Fund provides financial assistance to owners and operators for costs associated with the cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination caused by leaking petroleum USTs. In addition to reimbursing claimants for cleanup costs, the UST Cleanup Fund provides money to the Regional Water Boards and local UST regulatory agencies to abate emergency situations or clean up sites that pose a significant threat to human health, safety, and the environment. The UST Cleanup Fund revenues come from a $0.014 per gallon fee collected from UST owners by the Board of Equalization.
For more information on the UST Cleanup Fund.
Orphan Site Cleanup Fund (OSCF)
The Orphan Site Cleanup Fund (OSCF) is a new financial assistance program established to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for the cleanup of brownfields sites contaminated by leaking petroleum underground storage tanks where there is no financially responsible party. The State Water Board has received a $15,777,000 federal grant from the U.S. EPA Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund, under ARRA, to pay for activities at shovel-ready sites to assess and clean up underground storage tank petroleum leaks. The State Water Board will use these federal funds to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants under the OSCF and for the Emergency, Abandoned and Recalcitrant program.
For more information on the OSCF.