The United States Environmental Protection Agency has formally invited the Sites Project Authority to apply for a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program loan. In total, Sites will be eligible for up to $2.2 billion in low-interest loans, which accounts for 49 percent of the project’s cost. Although the WIFIA program is primarily used for wastewater and drinking water systems, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 directed the EPA and Reclamation to work towards opening the program to some Reclamation water projects as well. In October 2019, the Trump administration completed a Memorandum of Understanding between EPA and Reclamation to create a WIFIA process for Reclamation projects. In July 2021, Congressmen Doug LaMalfa and John Garamendi led a bipartisan letter with other members of the California delegation asking the EPA to allow the Sites Project Authority to apply for a WIFIA loan.
“We need Sites more than ever; our state is facing another historic drought.” LaMalfa said. “I’ve been a strong supporter of this project for years, it will provide water for more than 24 million Californians and 500,000 acres of farmland. This loan will drastically reduce the costs for consumers and make it more affordable for taxpayers to get the water they need, even in dry years. I’m glad the EPA is moving forward in allowing the project authority to apply. I look forward to seeing them to create a stronger and more reliable water supply for our state.”