Camarillo Receives $6.44M Grant for Desalter

Camarillo, California – City of Camarillo receives a $6.44 Million Federal WaterSMART Desalination grant, in addition to the original $5 million federal grant award and $15 million in State grants previously awarded, for a total of $26.44 million in grant funding for the construction of the City’s groundwater desalination treatment plant.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) makes funding opportunities available for Desalination Construction Projects under the WIIN Act and Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects. The $11.44M in federal grant funding received by the City is from the USBR WaterSMART Desalination funding opportunity to assist States, Tribes, and local municipalities as they plan for and implement actions to increase water supplies. 

The USBR funding opportunity provides sponsors of ocean and brackish water desalination projects with the opportunity to request cost-shared funding for the planning, design and/or construction of those projects. Desalination projects provide flexibility for communities to stretch the limited water supplies in the Western United States by developing and supplementing municipal and irrigation water supplies through the treatment of ocean water or brackish groundwater water.

In July 2018, the City of Camarillo applied for the maximum amount of grant funding that they were eligible for at the time of application, based on the total estimated project cost. The City was granted $5 million in February 2019.

The City requested additional funding in mid-2019. Recently, the City received notification of the award of $6.44 million, in addition to the $5 million grant, for a total of $11.44 million in grants from the USBR to date. The next step is for congress to enact appropriations legislation to start the funds flowing, which is expected to take several months.

The City is still eligible for approximately $5 million in additional USBR funding, which the City will apply for when it becomes available. The timing for USBR announcing the additional funding opportunity is unknown at this time.

“Securing this critical funding for the Desalter has taken several years, and involved commitment and follow through by City staff, the WSC grant management team, and the City Council,” explained City Manager Greg Ramirez, “and we are excited to share this news with the community.”

This project creates a new water source, protects the groundwater basin that the region depends on, and supports the agricultural economy. Construction of the project began in September 2019, with startup and testing expected next summer, and delivery of treated water to City customers by October 2021.


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