A Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan totaling $13 million to the United Water Conservation District in Oxnard, California has just been announced.
According to the EPA, the Santa Felicia Dam is categorized as a highly high hazard due to risks associated with seismic events, and the United Water Conservation District reduced its reservoir capacity by 20% to comply with seismic reservoir restrictions. This WIFIA loan supports the planning and design costs for the dam’s modernization, which will enhance its resiliency to seismic events, improve stormwater management, expand drinking water supply, and protect public safety. The project will be constructed under a future WIFIA loan and include a new outlet works system, expansion of a dam spillway, and a new outlet channel.
“Securing this low-interest WIFIA loan for the first phase of the Santa Felicia Dam Safety Improvement Project allows the United Water Conservation District (UWCD) to begin the initial design and construction work that is required to meet the new safety standards established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and California’s Division of Safety of Dams,” said UWCD General Manager Mauricio Guardado. “The WIFIA loan reduces the financial burden on our ratepayers while enhancing our ability to store more stormwater for groundwater recharge, provide more water resources for our growers and municipalities, protect the nearly 400,000 people, businesses and food growers below the Santa Felicia Dam and continues to support our sustainable water management practices.”
This initial WIFIA loan accelerates the project’s planning and design while establishing a long-term commitment under a $100 million WIFIA master agreement to finance future construction. The district will save approximately $5 million by financing with a WIFIA loan. Investing in the region’s infrastructure will create around 100 jobs.