California board offers low-interest water‑reuse finance

California’s Water Resources Control Board (WRCB) has approved new low-interest financing terms for water-recycling projects that can be completed within three years of governor Jerry Brown’s drought declaration on 17 January 2014.

The low-interest loans are intended to help California produce an additional 150,000 acre- feet (185 million m³) of recycled water annually, one of several actions Brown called for in his Drought State of Emergency.

The WRCB’s Division of Financial Assistance is offering US$ 800 million in 1% loans – approximately half the current interest rate – for water recycling projects. Applications for funding must be submitted by 2 December 2015.

“The governor’s drought proclamation directs us to accelerate funding for water supply enhancement projects that can break ground soon,” said WRCB chair Felicia Marcus. “Offering very low interest financing will provide an immediate incentive to construct more water recycling projects.”

Among the projects that will be eligible for funding are recycled water treatment, distribution and storage facilities. Between January 2011 and January 2014, the Water Recycling Funding Program has awarded nearly US$ 400 million to fund water recycling planning and construction projects.