EPA awards $59M water infrastructure loan to Coachella Valley Water District

Feb. 11, 2020
Funding will help finance stormwater channel improvements that will better manage heavy rains to protect communities’ surface waters and public health.

PALM DESERT, CA, FEB 11, 2020 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $59 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Coachella Valley Water District to help finance stormwater channel improvements that will better manage heavy rains to protect communities’ surface waters and public health. At the event, EPA also highlighted the newly released WIFIA Annual Report. Both actions support EPA’s 50th anniversary celebration and the agency’s February theme of protecting America’s waters—including water infrastructure investments and surface water protection.

“This new WIFIA loan will help fund important water infrastructure upgrades in the Coachella Valley that will protect the health of local residents and ensure that stormwater is well managed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this loan closing, EPA has now issued 15 WIFIA loans totaling more than $3.5 billion in credit assistance to help finance more than $8 billion for water infrastructure projects while creating more than 15,000 jobs.”

“Last year’s Valentine’s Day flood showed the danger and devastation that heavy rains and flooding can cause to our communities,” said Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. “This loan will go a long way to help manage floods, save property, and protect public health.

“Communities like the Coachella Valley experience real, on-the-ground benefits when they are able to improve critical water infrastructure for clean water, drinking water and flood protection,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division Director Tomás Torres. “EPA is committed to continuing our support through low-interest, flexible financing that improves quality of life, creates jobs, and reduces project costs.”  

The Coachella Valley Water District will develop two projects that make stormwater channel upgrades to improve water quality and support the economy in the Coachella Valley. The projects will increase capacity to capture and safely convey stormwater, helping Coachella Valley Water District meet stormwater management goals. The projects will help direct stormwater runoff away from nearby and adjacent properties, preventing run-off, silt, and other debris from impacting a wide area of land and water. In addition, by better managing stormwater in the event of a 100-year storm, the projects will allow for removing lands from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Special Flood Hazard Area for a 100-year storm event.

Paying for almost half of the costs of these two key projects with an ultra-low-cost, long-term loan permits the District to preserve our financial flexibility, as we accelerate the expansion and repair of critical stormwater control facilities over the next several years,” said CVWD Finance Director Geoffrey Kiehl. “We are appreciative of the tremendous help that the EPA staff provided in guiding us through their loan application process.”

These projects are vital to our ability to provide regional stormwater protection to the Coachella Valley,” said CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett. “Securing this loan means that we can undertake these important projects and reduce the financial burden to our customers by spreading it over time.” These projects -- referred to as the Stormwater Channel Improvement Project and North Indio Regional Flood Control Project -- will cost $120.7 million. EPA’s WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that figure—up to $59.1 million. The WIFIA loan will save the Coachella Valley Water District an estimated $9.8 million compared to typical bond financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 378 jobs.

For more information about the WIFIA program, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.