The Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed a $59 million loan today to help finance two key stormwater projects.
The EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan will save CVWD an estimated $9.8 million compared to typical bond financing.
“These projects are vital to our ability to provide regional stormwater protection to the Coachella Valley,” said CVWD General Manager Jim Barrett. “Securing this loan means that we can undertake these important projects and reduce the financial burden to our customers by spreading it over time.”
With 16 storm channels totaling 134 miles within its boundaries, CVWD protects nearly 600 miles of the Coachella Valley from flooding.
“We are excited to support CVWD on this level,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Water Division Director Tomás Torres. “Communities like the Coachella Valley experience real, on-the-ground benefits when they are able to improve critical water infrastructure for flood protection.”
With the WIFIA loan and other available funds, both projects are expected to be substantially completed in 2023.
“These projects are part of our ongoing commitment to reduce flood risk in the Coachella Valley to protect life and property,” said CVWD Board of Directors President John Powell Jr.
The North Indio Regional Flood Control Project will connect the flood channels from Sun City Palm Desert to those of Sun City Shadow Hills, acquire 193 acres of land and construct a new 3.3-mile channel to the Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel. It will reduce stormwater runoff and debris flow to North Indio and parts of the unincorporated county. This project will reduce flood risk to nearby communities and remove flood insurance requirements for residents in the area.
The Coachella Valley Stormwater Channel Improvement Project will increase the capacity of two miles of the storm channel between Avenue 54 and Avenue 58 for a possible 100-year flow.
To secure the WIFIA loan, CVWD sought its first credit rating and was awarded a triple A rating. Because of that high rating the loan carries a 1.96% interest rate and a long-term payout schedule.
“Paying for almost half of the costs of these two key projects with an ultra-low cost, long-term loan permits the District to preserve our financial flexibility,” said CVWD Finance Director Geoffrey Kiehl. “We appreciate the tremendous help that the EPA staff provided in guiding us through their loan application process.”
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional stormwater protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.