President’s Message—WIIN and Title XVI Program Benefit Water Reuse
If you missed the OC Water Summit, co-presented by the Orange County Water District (OCWD) you missed some outstanding speakers with very important messages. Brenda Burman, the new commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and the very first woman to hold the position, led a luncheon session about bringing water and power to the West. The USBR is the largest wholesale water provider in the nation and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the western United States. It has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.
Commissioner Burman has roots in California as a native and is sensitive to our challenges. She spoke about recent wet and, now, dry water years and she had one resounding message: We need infrastructure. “The stressors we face: increasing population, listed species, aging infrastructure—there’s a tremendous amount at stake. Floods and droughts can destroy lives when we are not prepared and when we’ve not invested in our future,” she said. Commissioner Burman encouraged us to build new watershed infrastructure. “We capture water in times of plenty and we store it for when people and fish need it later,” she said.
OCWD is proud to say that it has been capturing additional stormwater behind Prado Dam with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for decades. This water is released and then captured downstream in our recharge basins during dry times, when we need it most.
Commissioner Burman also acknowledged that there are funding opportunities to address our water challenges. One way is through the Reclamation Wastewater and Groundwater Studies Feasibility Act of 1992 (Title XVI of P.L. 102-575), also known as the Title XVI program. Title XVI was created to address growing challenges in western water management and is a federal water reclamation, recycling and reuse program to share project costs. It provides funding for projects in several western states and Hawaii. The program is administered by the USBR and was instrumental to helping OCWD and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) move forward with the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), the world’s largest potable reuse facility of its kind. Without a $20 million Title XVI grant in the late 1990s, our boards of directors may not have moved forward with building the project.
OCSD recently received WIIN Act grant funding for its eligible Headworks Segregation Project to support and increase the amount of water sent to the GWRS that will help take final production of the GWRS to 130 million gallons a day.
The USBR recently posted its Funding Opportunity Announcement, or FOAs, for both Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Program and for WIIN Act desalination construction projects. The deadline to apply this year is July 27, 2018.
The USBR is making up to $20 million available for reclamation and reuse projects authorized under the WIIN Act and $34 million for congressionally-authorized Title XVI projects. Search for funding opportunity number BOR-DO-18-F011 on the www.grants.gov website to learn more.
“For the Title XVI program, this is the second year the WIIN Act funds are available, and it provides an opportunity for new groups of projects to be eligible for financial assistance,” Commissioner Burman said.
The second funding opportunity is available through the Desalination Construction Project under the WIIN Act and Title XVI. This project provides sponsors of ocean and brackish water desalination projects the opportunity to request cost-shared funding for the planning, design and/or construction of those projects. Up to $18 million is available under this funding opportunity and its reference number is BOR-DO-18-F012 on the www.grants.gov website.
We thank Commissioner Burman and the more than 15 outstanding speakers who participated in this year’s OC Water Summit for sharing their time, talent and passion for solving California’s water challenges.