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Money not likely to flow to CLWA

Posted: June 19, 2009 8:38 p.m.
Updated: June 20, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Millions in federal stimulus dollars aimed at improving water quality are unlikely to flow into the Santa Clarita Valley, according to a local water official.

The Castaic Lake Water Agency applied for $36 million in federal stimulus money through the California Department of Public Health for its Rio Vista Water Treatment plant, said Dan Masnada, general manager for the water agency. The water agency provides state water to four retailers in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The water agency sent an application seeking funding for the plant in February, said Jim Leserman, water agency senior engineer. In May, the agency learned that the plant upgrade project ranked 1,971st on the stimulus package priority list for state Department of Public Health projects, he said.

“It’s unlikely we will come off the priority list to the funded-project list,” Leserman added.

The Rio Vista Treatment Plant is being expanded to increase its treatment capacity from 30 million gallons to 60 million gallons. The stimulus package emphasized so-called shovel-ready projects, Masnada said.

A shovel-ready project is one that is ready for construction.

Upgrading the Rio Vista Treatment Plant is the most shovel-ready project at the Water Agency, Masnada said.  

The $45 million upgrade is necessary to meet increasing demand.

“You can have all the water in the world, but if you can’t treat it and deliver the water to the customers, it doesn’t matter,” Masnada said.

The Water Agency isn’t alone in missing the boat on stimulus funds. “No one got any money locally,” Masnada said.

In fact, only one water utility in Los Angeles County, the L.A Department of Water and Power, will receive money from the stimulus package, Leserman said.

The application from the state water utilities went out in February and the priority list of the project was published in May, Leserman said.

Masnada said that part of the reason that the Water Agency likely won’t receive stimulus funding may lie in the fact that the agency’s ability to increase rates means that it is able to raise funds for projects.

Also, Masnada said, there was considerable competition for stimulus money.

“There are a lot of agencies who went after these funds,” he said.



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