The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Water Code § 79700-79798) known as Proposition 1, designated 2.7 billion dollars for investment in public benefits associated with new water storage projects. The California Water Commission (CWC), through the Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP) is responsible for administering those funds. Only projects that improve the operation of the state’s water system, are cost effective, and provide a net improvement in ecosystem and water quality conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are eligible for WSIP funding. Public benefits provided by a project may include water quality improvements, flood control benefits, emergency response, recreational opportunities, and ecosystem benefits. At least 50 percent of the total public benefits funded for a project must provide ecosystem improvements.
CWC developed and adopted regulations to be inserted into the California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 23. Waters. (PDF) for the quantification and management of public benefits in consultation with three administering agencies; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Water Resources, and with input from interested stakeholders through public comment.
CDFW’s Role in the WSIP
Pursuant Water Code section 79754, CDFW identified ecosystem priorities and relative environmental values of ecosystem benefits. Priorities consisted of flow and water quality improvements as well as physical process and habitat improvements. Further, CDFW assisted the CWC with review and evaluation of project applications and related documents submitted under the WSIP. During the Technical Review of applications, CDFW made a preliminary assessment of public benefits providing ecosystem improvements, and determined their relative environmental value based on information supplied in the application.
As required by Water Code section 79755, any project funded under the WSIP must enter into a contract with CDFW to administer their public ecosystem benefits. These contracts shall supersede any preliminary operations, monitoring, and management commitments made in the WSIP application. Specific contract requirements are identified in the CCR § 6014 for the administration of public benefits.
Conditionally Funded Projects
Eight water storage projects were awarded conditional funding by the CWC in July 2018.
Conditionally funded WSIP projects include:
- Chino Basin Conjunctive Use Environmental Water Storage/Exchange Program
- Harvest Water Program
- Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project
- Los Vaqueros Reservoir Expansion Project
- Pacheco Reservoir Expansion Project
- Sites Project
- Temperance Flat Reservoir Project*
- Willow Springs Water Bank Conjunctive Use Project
*Temperance Flat Reservoir Project withdrew from the WSIP in October 2020.
Final funding from the CWC can be awarded to a water storage project only after Proposition 1 requirements for final permits, environmental documents, commitments for non-Proposition 1 funding, and contracts for the administration of public benefits are completed (Water Code, § 79755). Information pertaining to the status of each WSIP project can be obtained through the CWC Water Storage web page.