Southland water leaders commend Obama Administration, Calif. congressional leaders on federal funding

LOS ANGELES, CA, July 1, 2009 -- Southland water leaders praised President Barack Obama's administration and California congressional representatives for the attention given the state in the latest round of federal funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009...

Jul 1st, 2009

• More than 70 percent of ARRA Title XVI funds announced today directed toward water projects within Metropolitan's six-county service area

LOS ANGELES, CA, July 1, 2009 -- Southland water leaders today praised President Barack Obama's administration and California congressional representatives for the attention given the state in the latest round of federal funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar this morning identified the 27 projects throughout the West that will share nearly $135 million in ARRA funding through the Bureau of Reclamation's Title XVI program. Projects within California will receive 98 percent of the federal funding, with more than 70 percent of the state's projects located within Metropolitan's six-county service area.

"Today's federal investments will help pave the way for water reclamation and reuse projects and programs that will expand the reliability of statewide resources and bring long-term sustainable water supplies within reach for all of California," said Timothy F. Brick, chairman of Metropolitan's Board of Directors.

"This level of federal funding for California projects, particularly in the state's south coastal plain, will not only bring drought relief and jobs, but also the promise of balancing local resources with imported supplies. This balance is part of the ongoing effort to address the needs of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's fragile ecosystem and to secure a more reliable water system serving 25 million Californians," Brick said.

Among those in the California congressional delegation who played critical roles in securing the funding, Brick singled out Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Montebello) in her role as chair of the House Water & Power Subcommittee for her continued leadership in helping to address California water issues and problems.

"If not for leaders like Congresswoman Napolitano, Southern California would remain mired in the crosshairs of some of the most challenging water supply and economic conditions we've ever faced, without the tangible hope and promise provided by today's federal funding."

The federal investment in the projects announced today is part of President Obama's $1 billion in ARRA funding provided by the Interior Department for water projects across the West. Reclamation's Title XVI program provides grants of up to 25 percent of the costs to plan, design and construct recycling projects.

"In essence, the nearly $100 million in federal funding identified for Southern California recycling projects amounts to an infusion of more than $400 million for the region's economy, providing both jobs and water supplies," said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger.

"We are very grateful for the swift action being taken by Secretary Salazar and Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Connor," Kightlinger said.

Randy A. Record, a member of Eastern Municipal Water District's Board of Directors, said $9.46 million is earmarked to help expand the production and distribution of recycled water in EMWD's southwest Riverside County service area.

"Our long-term goal is to rely on local water resources, such as this, so we are less reliant on imported water," said Record, who also represents EMWD on Metropolitan's board. "Recycled water is an alternative, reliable source of water that is important to Eastern and the inland region at a time when imported water is difficult to obtain. We go to such great lengths to get water, it only makes sense to use it and then use it again."

Donald R. Kendall, general manager of Calleguas Municipal Water District, expressed the district's appreciation for U.S. Rep. Elton W. Gallegly (R-Thousand Oaks) for "his efforts to secure much-needed funding for local supply development programs."

"The $5 million provided under the ARRA program will help fund the region's salinity management pipeline project that will provide for the treatment and use of poor quality groundwater. This will dramatically reduce the region's reliance on costly, imported water supplies and bolster the local economy," Kendall said.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

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