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  • Orange County Saves Ratepayers Money with WIFIA Loan Update

    Joined by leadership from the Orange County Water District (OCWD; Water District) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD; Sanitation District), U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler recently toured the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), where he announced a joint effort that will save ratepayers $79.4 million.

    Officials from EPA and the Water District made this savings possible by updating a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan that was granted to OCWD for use toward the construction of the GWRS Final Expansion.

    In 2018, EPA granted a $135 million WIFIA loan to OCWD to help finance the 30-million-gallon-per-day (MGD) final expansion of the GWRS, a $282 million project. The initial 70 MGD GWRS project came online in 2008, followed by a 30 MGD expansion in 2015. The second and final expansion of the GWRS will make the world’s largest reuse project even bigger, taking it to its ultimate capacity of 130 MGD ― enough water to meet the daily needs of 1 million people.

    “The WIFIA program supports the financing of our nation’s public water infrastructure and we are proud to be a recipient of this critical public funding that helps lower the cost of the GWRS,” said OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento. “We continue to make significant investments in this project because it increases local water reliability and quality for the 2.5 million people in our service area. Producing some of the lowest cost water in the region, it has also helped weather multi-year droughts and has decreased the region’s dependence on imported supplies. With benefits to the community, the economy and the environment, this project has been hailed as a model for the rest of the world.”  Read More