The U.S. Environment Protection Agency announced a loan of $135 million in support of Orange County Water District’s expansion of its Groundwater Replenishment System. Once completed, the project is slated to produce an additional 30 million gallons per day of purified water that will be stored in the Orange County Groundwater Basin to support 2.5 million people.
In addition to replenishing water supply for the area, it will also reduce the amount of secondary effluent discharge to the Pacific Ocean by 40 million gallons per day.
Funding for the loan is a part of the Water Infrastructure Innovation and Financing Act (WIFIA). The $135 million will finance roughly half of the total cost of the project. NGWA played an integral role in ensuring managed aquifer recharge projects like the Orange County project are eligible to receive WIFIA support.
WIFIA also finances water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, such as enhancing capacity at wastewater treatment plants, water recycling projects, and drinking water distribution enhancements. The Orange County project represents the first large-scale groundwater recharge project financed with WIFIA support.