The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a $614 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the City of San Diego, Calif., to help finance its Pure Water project.
With EPA’s WIFIA loan, the City of San Diego will construct a new advanced facility to produce 30 mgd of high-quality drinking water. This additional drinking water supply will save the city money through reduced imported water costs, will benefit the environment through reduced discharges into the ocean, and will provide a reliable, sustainable, water supply for future generations.
The City of San Diego’s Pure Water project is estimated to cost $1.4 billion. EPA’s WIFIA loan will help finance nearly half of the project costs. Since the WIFIA program offers loans with low interest rates, the city is expected to save up to an estimated $184 million compared to typical bond issuance. Project construction and operations are expected to create 480 jobs, with construction beginning in 2019 and targeted for completion in 2023.
“This federal funding is validation that our Pure Water Program is cutting edge technology and a worthy investment for San Diego’s future water independence,” says San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “This is going to be one of the most significant infrastructure projects in San Diego history and will deliver clean, reliable water to our residents for decades to come.”
Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. To date, President Trump’s EPA has issued five loans totaling over $1.5 billion in WIFIA credit assistance. Combined, these five projects will create 6,000 jobs.
On Nov. 1, 2018, EPA invited 39 projects in 16 states and D.C. to apply for a WIFIA loan. Together, the selected borrowers will receive WIFIA loans totaling approximately $5 billion to help finance over $10 billion in water infrastructure investments and create up to 155,000 jobs.According to EPA's estimate of national drinking water and wastewater needs, over $743 billion is needed for water infrastructure improvements. EPA’s WIFIA program plays an important part in fulfilling this need.
For more information about the WIFIA program, click here.