On January 10, 2017, EPA announced the availability of approximately $1 billion in loans for water infrastructure projects under the new Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program.

In the Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017, P.L. 114-254, signed by the President on December 10, 2016, Congress provided $17 million in budget authority for WIFIA.  This funding covers the federal government’s anticipated cost of providing more than $1 billion in credit assistance.  Because WIFIA can be used to fund up to 49% of project costs, it is estimated that over $2 billion in water infrastructure investment can be financed.  First round Letters of Interest for projects seeking funding are now being accepted through April 10, 2017.

Attendees at WaterNow Alliance’s October 2016 Fostering Resilience Conference in Orange County heard Jim Gebhardt, Director for EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, describe the applicability of this financing mechanism to sustainable water solutions, noting that WIFIA is applicable to watershed and “green infrastructure” projects.  WIFIA is designed to greatly enhance existing State Revolving Fund programs, expand opportunities for public/private partnerships, and is targeted at large infrastructure projects costing $20 million or more.

WaterNow Alliance is collecting information on promising green infrastructure projects – watershed protection, stormwater capture, water efficiency.  Please let us know if your community is considering a sustainable water project that could be eligible for WIFIA support!

More information can be found at the following links:

www.epa.gov/wifia

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/10/2016-31828/notice-of-funding-availability-nofa-for-applications-for-credit-assistance-under-the-water

WNA looks forward to working with our members on this exciting new financing opportunity for sustainable water solutions.

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Walt Wadlow is the WaterNow Alliance Director of Utility Relations. He is the former general manager for Alameda County Water District and currently lives in Santa Cruz, CA.

 

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