Special Application for Early Funding in the Water Storage Investment Program

The Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) implements Proposition 1, Chapter 8, which provided $2.7 billion for the public benefits of water storage projects. To implement this chapter, the Commission adopted program regulations, as required in Chapter 8, then proceeded with a solicitation and application review. Water Code section 79755 (c) allows for early funding of projects to assist with work related to completion of environmental documents and permits. Program regulations implemented the early funding provision by requiring applicants to request early funding in their initial applications. Four of the eight applicants that completed the review process requested early funding in their applications. Early funding is capped at 5 percent of the Maximum Conditional Eligibility Determination to limit stranding of funds should a project not progress to final award and to reserve the majority of Proposition 1, Chapter 8 funding for project construction.

In a May 11 letter to the Water Commission, proponents of six of the eight WSIP-funded projects including Chino Basin and Willow Springs stated that “we are concerned that the uncertain financial times ahead could cause delays to these projects that you have previously determined create an important statewide benefit.”

The Commission directed staff to draft and present emergency regulations to the Commission to address concerns raised in the May 11 letter at its July 2020 meeting. The Commission adopted the proposed emergency regulations at its August 19, 2020, meeting with a minor change.  Commission staff submitted the adopted regulations to the Office of Administrative Law on August 19, 2020. The Office of Administrative Law approved the emergency regulations on August 31, 2020, and they became effective immediately.

Commission staff filed the Notice of Proposed Action with the Office of Administrative Law on November 17, 2020. The notice was published in the California Notice Register on November 27, 2020, which starts the formal 45-day public comment period. Written comments are due to the Commission no later than January 13, 2021. The proposed regulations do not change the amount of funding available to any applicant in the Water Storage Investment Program. The Commission will hold a hearing on the proposed regulations at its January 20, 2021 meeting.