By SDCN Editor
Washington, D.C.–The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced a $170 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to Poseidon Resources in San Diego County to support its Carlsbad Desalination Plant Intake Modification and Wetlands Project, which will help provide sustainable access to drinking water and protect local coastal wetlands.
The Carlsbad Desalination Plant provides approximately 10% of the San Diego County region’s water supply. The plant was opened in 2015 as a public-private partnership with Poseidon Resources and the San Diego County Water Authority and currently requires significant upgrades to add a new intake facility to comply with the State of California’s ocean water intake regulations and ensure the plant’s continued operation.
The $170 million loan will also support the restoration of approximately 125 acres of coastal wetlands on the San Diego Bay to provide habitat for native plants and wildlife, including endangered species, migratory seabirds, and shorebirds.
“Diversifying and stretching precious water supplies is essential in the water-scarce West,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Our WIFIA loan to Poseidon Resources in San Diego County will be used for both upgrading the drinking water desalination plant to help address water shortages, stretch precious water supplies, and protect critical marine habitats in the San Diego Bay.”
“Poseidon Resources is excited about its partnership with the EPA as we embark on a modernization of the intake system at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant and the creation of 125 acres of coastal wetlands,” said President of Poseidon Resources Sachin Chawla. “We appreciate the EPA’s financial support through a low-cost WIFIA loan.”
Poseidon Resources’ financing package is composed of $160 million in tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds from the State of California and $170 million in the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act’s low-cost credit support, and it’s saving San Diego County Water Authority and local ratepayers significantly compared to alternative financing approaches — with its financing alone saving ratepayers $54 million.
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by EPA. The 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.
The 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 loan closing, EPA has announced 101 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loans that are providing $17 billion in credit assistance to help finance $37 billion for water infrastructure while creating 125,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.
EPA is currently accepting letters of interest for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act and SWIFIA loans.
In June, EPA announced the availability of $5.5 billion under the 2022 Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Notice of Funding Availability and an additional $1 billion under the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA SWIFIA program. The newly available funding will support more than $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.