EPA announces $41M for flood resilience in Santa Clara County, California

Feb. 24, 2023
EPA provided the 99th and 100th WIFIA loans, totaling $115 million, to support flood resilience and a seismic retrofit in Santa Clara County.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a $41 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to support flood protection for the Santa Clara Valley Water District in California.

The award comes as part of EPA’s announcement of two WIFIA loans for the district, which marks the 99th and 100th loans for EPA’s WIFIA program.

Of the two WIFIA loans, one provides $41 million to support the Safe, Clean, and Natural Flood Protection Program. The other provides $74 million to support the planning and design costs of the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project.

“We know making smart investments in water infrastructure and technology today remains the most cost-efficient way to ensure Santa Clara County has enough safe, clean water now and into the future,” said John L. Varela, Valley Water Board Chair. “Thanks to WIFIA, we can do this in a cost-effective manner to benefit our rate and taxpayers.”

The Safe, Clean, and Natural Flood Protection Program $41 million investment will help upgrade and add channel restoration projects in Sunnyvale, San Jose, and surrounding areas in California to manage stormwater that impacts residents, schools, and businesses. Additionally, Santa Clara Valley Water District will improve water quality by implementing erosion control measures that will protect wildlife habitats and enhance recreational opportunities adjacent to waterways.

The 100th WIFIA Loan

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The WIFIA program’s aim is to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects.

“From our first loan to Seattle in 2018 to today’s announcement of our 100th loan to Santa Clara, EPA’s WIFIA program has benefited over 50 million people across the country and created 123,000 jobs,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Ensuring access to clean, safe water is essential. Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic $50 billion investment in America through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the availability of other financing options like WIFIA, EPA’s efforts to address critical upgrades to water systems in communities is unprecedented.”

EPA says that these projects will benefit over 50 million people, resulting in 1.2 million people receiving safer drinking water and 1,100 million gallons per day of wastewater receiving more treatment before it is discharged to waterways.