An estimated $12 million in state drought grants, which county officials had hoped would help pay for various local projects, have apparently been caught in a bureaucratic snafu.
The grants request from San Luis Obispo County and five local water agencies was disqualified from state consideration because of a communications or paperwork glitch, local officials learned this week.
But Dave Flynn, deputy director of SLO County Public Works, and others working on clearing up the misunderstanding say they’re cautiously confident they can resolve the problem before the Oct. 8 deadline. The list of grant recipients released this week is not final.
And because the county’s request was ranked third highest statewide, they believe they can still get the needed grants.
Among the projects affected is a $3.75 million grant that Cambria Community Services District officials had hoped to receive to help pay for their nearly $9 million emergency water project that is now underway. The town could run out of water within the next few months without the project, assuming there is still no significant rain. Residents and businesses are under stringent Stage 3-emergency water restrictions and penalties.
County Supervisor Bruce Gibson said that while disappointed, he thinks they can straighten out the problem.
“The county’s package was very, very highly rated. I’m hopeful. We haven’t heard the last word yet,” he said.
The grants are made possible by Proposition 84, passed by voters in 2006, which authorized California to sell $5.4 billion in general obligation bonds to pay for water safety and supply projects, as well as for natural resource preservation. Here’s a look at the four other projects affected:
• San Simeon Community Services District’s “purple pipe” distribution system to deliver recycled water to customers for irrigation and other purposes, reducing the impact on drinking-water supplies. ($3,515,765)
• Heritage Ranch Community Services District’s emergency “turnout” from the Nacimiento Water Pipeline, allowing the district’s water-treatment plant to receive lake water during extreme drought conditions. ($112,500)
• Intertie between Salinas and Nacimiento pipelines, providing an alternate water source for institutional and public use facilities, which rely solely on state water. ($3,058,282)
• Intertie between Atascadero Mutual Water Company, Santa Margarita CSA 23 and Garden Farms Community Services District to provide emergency water from Atascadero to the communities that rely completely on shallow groundwater basins. ($1,479,750)
To see the draft list of recommendations and evaluations for the Integrated Regional Water Management grants administered by the Department of Water Resources (DWR), click here.