Today, the City of Oceanside was awarded a $69 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help finance the city’s Pure Water Oceanside project.
Scheduled to be complete in 2022, Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. The project will provide more than 32% of the City of Oceanside’s water supply, or 3 to 5 million gallons per day, and be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County.
Commemorating the historic moment, the City of Oceanside held a press conference with officials including Deputy Mayor Jack Feller, U.S. Representative Mike Levin, U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross and Oceanside Water Utilities Director Cari Dale.
“At the City of Oceanside, we are focused not only on today, but also are committed to planning for tomorrow to ensure future generations will have access to high-quality drinking water,” said Dale. “This WIFIA loan will be instrumental in moving our Pure Water Oceanside project forward to completion and aligns with our long-term goal to have 50% of our city’s water supply be locally sourced by 2030. We are grateful to the U.S. EPA for partnering with us on this important project and investing in our future.”
The WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of the $158 million project costs, in addition to portions of the city’s lower and upper recycled projects.
The remaining Pure Water Oceanside project funds will come from a combination of grants, water system revenue backed obligations and system funds. The WIFIA loan and the 1.2% interest rate the City of Oceanside negotiated will save the city an estimated $24 million compared to typical market financing. Project construction and operation are expected to create 622 jobs.
“EPA’s support for this project illustrates two agency priorities as we work to meet 21st century water demands—reusing the water that we have and revamping our nation’s water infrastructure,” said Ross. “With WIFIA’s support, Pure Water Oceanside will be a landmark project as EPA looks to foster additional innovative water reuse strategies and infrastructure investments across the country.”
In 2019, EPA selected Pure Water Oceanside and portions of Oceanside’s recycled water upper and lower systems as one of only 38 applicants across the nation to be invited to apply for a WIFIA loan. The WIFIA program accelerates investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
Pure Water Oceanside will address multiple challenges currently faced by the city. Today, Oceanside imports most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, which are hundreds of miles away. This imported water is subject to rising costs out of the city’s control, requires an enormous amount of energy to transport and is vulnerable to natural disasters and earthquakes. Pure Water Oceanside will address these challenges, diversifying the city’s water supply and reducing its reliance on imported water by 45%.
For more information about Pure Water Oceanside, visit: www.PureWaterOceanside.org.