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Posted on: October 22, 2019

District Chosen as a Recipient Federal Loan

For Immediate Release

October 22, 2019

Melanie Mow Schumacher, Special Projects-Communications Manager
Phone: 831-475-8501, ext. 153
Email Melanie Mow Schumacher

Soquel Creek Water District Chosen as a Recipient for a Federal Low-Interest Loan of $49 Million for its Pure Water Soquel Project

With a low-interest rate, loan offers significant savings to District ratepayers

Soquel, CA (October 22, 2019) - The Soquel Creek Water District was chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to submit an application for a $49 million low-interest loan through its Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (Wi-FiA) loan program. The funds will be used toward design and construction of the District's Pure Water Soquel Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project.

The loan represents not only federal support and a major investment in Pure Water Soquel, but also a significant savings for District rate payers. At an interest rate of 1.8%, the District estimates this loan will save the District approximately $11 million over its 30-year term, when compared to a more typical loan at a 3% interest rate.

"We are excited to be selected to participate in the next step for a Wi-FiA low-interest loan and are grateful to the EPA for acknowledging the value and importance of Pure Water Soquel" said Dr. Tom Lahue, President of the District's Board of Directors. "Thanks to our remarkable staff and Board members, and the many supporters of our loan application, we were able to show how this project really connects with the EPA's priority for infrastructure projects that involve water reuse, are drought-proof, and increase resiliency."

Pure Water Soquel will take treated, recycled municipal wastewater and use advanced water treatment methods to produce 1,500 acre-feet of purified water annually. This purified water will then be sent to seawater intrusion prevention/recharge wells to replenish the critically over-drafted groundwater basin. The Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin, which is the sole source of supply for District customers and other residents in the mid-county, is designated by the State of California as one of 21 basins throughout the state that is critically overdrafted. This project will create a barrier against seawater contamination, and provide a safe, high-quality, reliable, and sustainable water supply for generations to come in the Santa Cruz Mid-County region.

"I'm pleased that Soquel Creek Water District earned this backing from the EPA," said U.S. Representative Jimmy Panetta, who was instrumental in gaining support for the loan application in Washington, DC. "With these funds, the District can jump start the next phase of Pure Water Soquel and help ensure the long-term protection of the local water supply."

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the Wi-FiA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at the EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental credit assistance for regionally and nationally significant projects. Find more information about Wi-FiA and its October 22, 2019 press release page.

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