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OPPORTUNITY Competitive Grants and Loans for Groundwater Quality
FUNDING SOURCE Proposition 1 Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, Chapter 10. Groundwater Sustainability [AB1471 Rendon]: $900 million for projects to prevent or cleanup contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a major source of drinking water [CA Water Code § 79770]
  • Minimum local cost share 50% of total project costs (may be waived for reduced for projects that directly benefit a DAC or EDA)
  • Minimum 10% of funds designated for projects serving SDACs
  • Technical assistance to DACs included

$800 million for projects


$100 million for planning

Photo credit: Groundwater Pump, 123rf 14930703
Photo credit: Groundwater Pump, 123rf 14930703
GRANT AMOUNTS Implementation Projects:

$500,000 to $50 million

Planning projects:

$100,000 to $2 million

  • 20% [$160 million] for projects directly benefiting DACs/EDAs
  • Minimum 50% of set-aside ($80 million for projects that serve SDACs
MATCH REQUIREMENTS Minimum 50% of total eligible project costs, except for special groups:
  • Group A: 5% match IF 100% of project benefits a small SDAC [population < 20,000 and MHI < 60% of Statewide MHI]
  • Group B: 10% match IF 100% of project benefits a DAC or EDA
  • Group C: 20% match for components of project that benefit a DAC or EDA
ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS Public agencies, non-profit organizations, public utilities, federally recognized Indian tribes, California Native American Tribes, and mutual water companies

[Solicitation Guidelines, Section 2.3]

1. Consistent with California Water Action Plan (CWAP) , must achieve one or more of the following objectives:

a.  Prevent the spread of contamination in an aquifer that serves or has served as a source of drinking water;

b. Accelerate the cleanup of contamination in an aquifer that serves or has served as a source of drinking water;

c.  Protect an aquifer that serves as a source of drinking water; or

d. Provide clean drinking water to DACs or EDAs.

2. Be identified as a high priority by applicable State or federal agencies.

3. Cleanup or prevent the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water.

4. Demonstrate the availability of funds for any match required and ability to pay O&M costs.

5. Have a useful life of 20 years.

PROJECT PREFERENCES Solicitation Guidelines, Section 2.3.
SPECIAL PROVISIONS Projects that benefit DACs or EDAs are eligible:
  • Drinking Water Treatment Projects that treat groundwater for direct potable use, with no cleanup or remediation of the aquifer [Solicitation Guidelines Sec. 4.5] – up to $5 million per project
  • Septic-to-sewer projects that prevent or reduce contamination of municipal or domestic wells [Solicitation Guidelines Sec. 4.6] – up to $8 million per project

Additional Types of Eligible Projects/Programs:

  • Groundwater cleanup “program” comprised of multiple eligible projects [Solicitation Guidelines Sec. 4.8.1]
  • “Phased” Projects where one phase must be completed before the next can begin.
  • Conceptual proposals were due August 3, 2018
  • Selected projects will be invited to submit full proposals
  • Preliminary awards: Late 2018

Grant Agreement Execution: Spring/Summer 2019

ROUND 1 AWARDS Approx. $125 million anticipated to be awarded (23 Grant Agreements)
  • Planning – nearly $17 million
  • Implementation – nearly $108 million
RESERVE FOR ROUND 3 $300 million

Chapter 10. Groundwater Sustainability


Prevention and cleanup of groundwater contamination are critical components of successful groundwater management. Groundwater quality becomes especially important as water providers do the following:

(a) Evaluate investments in groundwater recharge with surface water, stormwater, recycled water, and other conjunctive use projects that augment local groundwater supplies to improve regional water self-reliance.

(b) Adapt to changing hydrologic conditions brought on by climate change.

(c) Consider developing groundwater basins to provide much needed local storage options to accommodate hydrologic and regulatory variability in the state’s water delivery system.

(d) Evaluate investments in groundwater recovery projects.


(a) The sum of nine hundred million dollars ($900,000,000) shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature from the fund, for expenditures on, and competitive grants, and loans for, projects to prevent or clean up the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a source of drinking water. Funds appropriated pursuant to this section shall be available to the state board for projects necessary to protect public health by preventing or reducing the contamination of groundwater that serves or has served as a major source of drinking water for a community.

(b) Projects shall be prioritized based upon the following criteria:

(1) The threat posed by groundwater contamination to the affected community’s overall drinking water supplies, including an urgent need for treatment of alternative supplies or increased water imports if groundwater is not available due to contamination.

(2) The potential for groundwater contamination to spread and impair drinking water supply and water storage for nearby population areas.

(3) The potential of the project, if fully implemented, to enhance local water supply reliability.

(4) The potential of the project to maximize opportunities to recharge vulnerable, high-use groundwater basins and optimize groundwater supplies.

(5) The project addresses contamination at a site for which the courts or the appropriate regulatory authority has not yet identified responsible parties, or where the identified responsible parties are unwilling or unable to pay for the total cost of cleanup, including water supply reliability improvement for critical urban water supplies in designated superfund areas with groundwater contamination listed on the National Priorities List established pursuant to Section 105(a)(8)(B) of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (42 U.S.C. Sec. 9605(a)(8)(B)).

(c) Funding authorized by this chapter shall not be used to pay any share of the costs of remediation recovered from parties responsible for the contamination of a groundwater storage aquifer, but may be used to pay costs that cannot be recovered from responsible parties. Parties that receive funding for remediating groundwater storage aquifers shall exercise reasonable efforts to recover the costs of groundwater cleanup from the parties responsible for the contamination. Funds recovered from responsible parties may only be used to fund treatment and remediation activities.


Of the funds authorized by Section 79771, eighty million dollars ($80,000,000) shall be available for grants for treatment and remediation activities that prevent or reduce the contamination of groundwater that serves as a source of drinking water.


The contaminants that may be addressed with funding pursuant to this chapter may include, but shall not be limited to, nitrates, perchlorate, MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), arsenic, selenium, hexavalent chromium, mercury, PCE (perchloroethylene), TCE (trichloroethylene), DCE (dichloroethene), DCA (dichloroethane), 1,2,3-TCP (trichloropropane), carbon tetrachloride, 1,4-dioxane, 1,4-dioxacyclohexane, nitrosodimethylamine, bromide, iron, manganese, and uranium.


(a) A project that receives funding pursuant to this chapter shall be selected by a competitive grant or loan process with added consideration for those projects that leverage private, federal, or local funding.

(b) For the purposes of awarding funding under this chapter, a local cost share of not less than 50 percent of the total costs of the project shall be required. The cost-sharing requirement may be waived or reduced for projects that directly benefit a disadvantaged community or an economically distressed area.

(c) An agency administering grants or loans for the purposes of this chapter shall assess the capacity of a community to pay for the operation and maintenance of the facility to be funded.

(d) At least 10 percent of the funds available pursuant to this chapter shall be allocated for projects serving severely disadvantaged communities.

(e) Funding authorized by this chapter shall include funding for technical assistance to disadvantaged communities. The agency administering this funding shall operate a multidisciplinary technical assistance program for small and disadvantaged communities.


Of the funds authorized by Section 79771, one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) shall be made available for competitive grants for projects that develop and implement groundwater plans and projects in accordance with groundwater planning requirements established under Division 6 (commencing with Section 10000).