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Cunningham and Monning seek state funds for local water treatment facilities 

Jordan Cunningham being sworn in as the new Assemblyman for the 35th District.

Jordan Cunningham being sworn in as the new Assemblyman for the 35th District.

—On Tuesday, Jordan Cunningham (R-Templeton), California Assemblyman for the 35th District, and Senator Bill Monning (D-Santa Cruz), addressed a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting approval of a project that would provide a supplemental supply of recycled water for the Paso Basin.

Cunningham, a local attorney, has previously stated that North County water issues are among his top priorities. Monning of the 17th Senate District, is the Senate Majority Leader. Here is the text of their letter:

Dear Honorable Chair Marcus, Messrs. Howard, Bishop, and Polhemus:

In Sept. 2015, over 15 months ago, the City of Paso Robles applied to the State Water Resources Control Board’s Revolving Fund (SRF) program for a low interest loan and grant funding for the first phase of the recycled water project, Tertiary Treatment Facilities. We write to respectfully request that your organization make the city of Paso Robles application a high priority and proceed to issue a financing agreement for the Tertiary Treatment Facilities project as soon as possible. This will enable the city of Paso Robles to move forward with construction in 2017.

As the state assemblyman and the state senator representing this area of the Central Coast, we are keenly interested in improving the region’s water resources through well-planned infrastructure like the Paso Robles Recycled Water Project.

The Paso Robles Groundwater Basin is an important water resource for California’s Central Coast. It supplies water to several San Luis Obispo County communities and supports agriculture that is a major contributor to Central Coast economic health. The Paso Basin has a problem of declining groundwater elevations. Many local agencies and representatives of the agriculture community are now working together to improve management of the basin and develop supplemental water supplies.

The City of Paso Robles has been actively developing a supplemental supply of water for the Paso Basin: recycled water from the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The agriculture community has expressed interest in using the recycled water as soon as it becomes available. The project will help solve the problem of declining groundwater elevations by producing and delivering a major new supply of irrigation water.

The City has submitted all required documentation relating to the application. The application has cleared the environmental and financial review processes, but it now seems to be stuck waiting for SRF staff to prepare a financing agreement and complete a final legal review.

The City of Paso Robles has completed all design work, obtained all necessary permits, and is preparing to advertise the project for bids for construction in February 2017. Per SRF program guidelines, the City must have an SRF financing agreement in place before it incurs construction costs. If the City cannot meet this fast-approaching deadline for bids, the overall cost for the project will increase significantly as construction cannot reasonably begin during the optimal summer weather. Furthermore, the city’s proposal is as “shovel ready” as any project will get, and the prospect of jobs and regional economic development are at stake.

Finally, we understand the Tertiary Treatment Facilities may be eligible for a Green Project Reserve grant in combination with a low interest loan due to its innovative features and decreases in chemical use. Please consider granting the maximum amount of Green Project Reserve funding available to the Tertiary Treatment Facilities project. The grant would enable the City to direct more funding to the purple pipe system needed to distribute the recycled water (which is presently being designed), thus have a greater positive impact on the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin.

Thank you for considering this request. Please contact us any time should you wish to discuss this critical matter.

Sincerely,
Senator Bill Monning
Assemblyman Jordan Cunninham

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About the author: Staff Writer Jordan Elgrably

Jordan Elgrably is a staff writer at this publication. Visit his web site at Jordan Elgrably. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Reach him by email with tips or questions, jordan@accesspublishing.com.  

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