On February 10, 2015, the California Natural Resources Agency released a draft schedule of benchmarks to be achieved in the first year of the ten year expenditure period of the Water Bond (Proposition 1). As draft guidelines for grants funded by the Water Bond are available, they will be posted on the Bond Accountability website, where some draft guidelines are already available.
The Water Bond, passed in November 2014, secured a total of $7.5 billion to fund water projects and programs addressing water conservation and recycling, groundwater cleanup and management, and water storage. Proposition 1 provides $100 million in grant funding allocated for the development and implementation of groundwater management plans and projects that will be awarded “for competitive grants for projects that develop and implement groundwater plans and projects.” A “local cost share of not less than 50 percent of the total costs of the project” is required for groundwater sustainability projects. This $100 million will be administered by DWR and available for implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA).
The Water Bond requires that prior to disbursing grants or loans, each state agency that administers funds must develop and adopt project solicitation and evaluation guidelines. The draft schedule released on February 10, 2015 reveals that DWR will begin tribal consultation and developing program success measures for SGMA grant funding between March and June 2015. DWR is scheduled to conduct public scoping meetings to gather input on potential draft guidelines in July and August of 2015. Draft guidelines for funding applications will be available for public comment in December 2015. Therefore, final guidelines will likely be available in early 2016. This will allow public agencies to apply for funding well in advance of the statutory deadlines for adoption of groundwater sustainability plans.
For more on SGMA, see our Desktop Reference.