Rep. Peters, Sen. Padilla Introduce Drought Bill for Pure Water Program

May 13, 2024

San Diego is taking action to protect our water supply through long-term solutions like Pure Water. Senator Padilla and Congressman Peters introduced the DROUGHT Act to bolster these efforts and help fund water infrastructure projects in communities across the West.

Read more about it in this April 16th piece from the Times of San Diego, posted below:

Rep. Peters, Sen. Padilla Introduce Drought Bill for Pure Water Program

By Debbie L. Sklar

April 16, 2024

Rep. Scott Peters and Sen. Alex Padilla introduced legislation Tuesday to help alleviate the western water crisis, stemming from the long-term drought conditions affecting the Colorado River and its reservoirs.

The Drought Relief Obtained Using Government Help Today (DROUGHT) Act, would allow federal government loans to take on a greater share of the cost of water infrastructure projects. This bill will support San Diego’s landmark water-recycling project, Pure Water, which will supply half of San Diego’s drinking water by 2035.

Currently, projects receiving assistance from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program cannot accept assistance from the federal government for over 80% of the projects’ costs. In practice, this limit has created undue burdens on state and local governments, even when they are able to repay the loan regardless of the federal share of initial funding.

The DROUGHT Act will raise the limit from 80% to 90% for projects in areas experiencing extreme drought or historically disadvantaged communities. The bill would also require that projects in those areas be prioritized for funding as they represent the greatest need.

The bill does not affect the obligation of borrowers to repay their loans, the timeline for repayment, nor interest rates of applicable loans.

“San Diegans know that we cannot take our water for granted — that’s why the city and county are investing in long-term solutions like Pure Water,” Peters said. “My bill will make sure the federal government is also investing in the most basic needs of the millions of people in the West who are subject to drought. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress and our local partners to pass this bill into law.”

“Every American deserves access to reliable, clean drinking water and sanitation, but aging infrastructure and years of historic drought have stretched water systems and increased water bills across the West,” Padilla said. “The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act has successfully invested billions of dollars in California water projects, and this legislation will provide critical additional financial relief for drought-stricken and disadvantaged communities.”

The DROUGHT Act builds on Representative Peters’ OPRA II Act, which would also support San Diego’s Pure Water project.

Original co-sponsors of the DROUGHT Act include Representatives Nanette Barragán and Raul Ruiz.



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