The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an $81 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Sacramento County Water Agency in northern California. The financed project will modernize water infrastructure to support a more reliable and climate-resilient water supply.
“By upgrading this aging distribution system and installing water meters that are fundamental to conservation, EPA is showing how the agency partners with local water providers to meet community needs,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “This project also creates jobs while EPA’s WIFIA loan will keep costs down. Many more communities will benefit from the win-win of water infrastructure investment, thanks to the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”
“The Sacramento County Water Agency’s project is critical to fighting drought and reducing climate change impacts,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The EPA is committed to helping communities pursue smarter water management strategies, and we are proud to help finance this project to benefit local residents for generations to come. This represents the future of water in the West.”
Sacramento County Water Agency’s Arden Service Area Distribution System Pipe Realignment and Meter Installation Project will reduce water loss and the frequency of waterline breaks by modernizing the aging water distribution infrastructure. Additionally, the project helps Sacramento County comply with current fire protection standards and water metering requirements by installing 30 miles of new distribution pipeline, 260 fire hydrants, and 3,000 new water meters. Improved leak detection and water conservation methods will reduce water use by an estimated 17 percent annually, increasing the community’s resiliency to the effects of climate change.
“The Sacramento County Water Agency (Agency) is appreciative of the opportunity to participate in EPA’s WIFIA program. The funding from this program will allow the Agency to address critical water supply infrastructure needs,” said Michael Peterson, Sacramento County Water Agency Director. “The funded project will upgrade the Arden Service Area water distribution system by installing larger pipes to increase system capacity, improve fire flow, and bolster system reliability while making more efficient the operation and maintenance of the system. The project also includes the installation of water meters for all service area connections, which will ensure the Agency meets compliance with California metering mandates. The WIFIA loan proceeds allow the Agency to implement the project in the most cost-effective manner possible while reducing the overall cost impact of the project to Agency customers. This funding allows the Agency to continue to implement our capital improvement plan and provide a high quality, reliable and flexible water supply.”
EPA’s $81 million WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $165 million project costs. Sacramento County Water Agency will save approximately $22 million through its WIFIA financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create an estimated 530 jobs and construction is expected to be completed in 2025.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. WIFIA’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.
The WIFIA program has an active pipeline of pending applications for projects that will result in billions of dollars in water infrastructure investment and thousands of jobs. With this WIFIA loan closing, EPA has announced 66 WIFIA loans that are providing $12.5 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $27 billion for water infrastructure while creating approximately 76,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $4.7 billion.