Padilla Secures Nearly $20 Million for California Water Infrastructure Projects, Ocean Research, and Ecological Restoration

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) announced that he secured nearly $20 million in federal funding for eight California water infrastructure projects, ocean research, and ecological restoration programs across several Senate appropriations bills. The bills were released by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week and will now be reconciled with their House counterparts before final passage.

This follows $36.48 million in funding Padilla secured for community projects to improve water resiliency by expanding storage and reuse in the Energy and Water Appropriations bill in August.

“As California faces the stressors of the climate crisis, it’s critical that we invest in the restoration of degraded ecosystems and modernize drinking water and wastewater infrastructure,” Senator Padilla said. “I’m proud to support projects that will improve access to safe drinking water for Californians, mitigate ocean pollution, and restore coastal ecosystems. The health of the Pacific Ocean is vital to California’s economy, environment, and public health.”

California water infrastructure projects:

$3 Million for a Water Recycling Facility and PFAS Treatment Project in Riverside
This funding would allow the Western Municipal Water District to protect drinking water supplies in the Arlington Basin and protect environmental water quality and storm water runoff by removing harmful PFAS chemicals from wastewater.
Senator Padilla has made addressing PFAS contamination a priority. Last week, he introduced the PROTECT Actto add certain PFAS chemicals to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of Hazardous Air Pollutants, thereby requiring their regulation under the Clean Air Act. This would expand the number of facilities that would have to adopt technology to reduce PFAS emissions. Earlier this year, he introduced two bills, the Clean Water for Military Families Act and the Filthy Fifty Act, directing the Department of Defense to identify and clean up PFAS at U.S. military installations with some of the highest detections across the country.

$3 Million for Water Tank and Booster Pump Station Improvements in the City of Gustine
This funding would allow the City of Gustine to improve drinking water reliability, water pressure, and firefighting capability for the community by replacing the current 75,000 gallon tank with a 1 million gallon water tank storage system and booster pump station.

$2.4 Million for the Doheny Desalination Slant Well Project in Orange County
This funding would allow the South Coast Water District in Orange County to install a subsurface ocean intake system that meets the State of California Ocean Plan seawater intake guidelines, called a slant well, to help provide a reliable water supply to a region that currently relies on 85-100% imported water.

$1.7 Million for City of Sacramento’s Fairbairn Groundwater Well Project
This funding would support drought resiliency for the Sacramento region through design and planning work for the City of Sacramento’s Fairbairn Groundwater Well project.

$1.25 Million for the City of Banning Wastewater Treatment and Groundwater Protection Project
This funding would support the City of Banning’s wastewater treatment project to protect groundwater from sewer overflow during heavy periods of rain and overflow events.

$1 Million for the City of Yucaipa’s Wilson III Basin Project

This funding would support the City of Yucaipa’s Wilson III Basin project to provide flood protection, improve water quality, preserve open space and habitat preservation, and provide groundwater recharge.

Projects to support ocean research and ecological restoration:

$5.6 million for Southern California DDT Ocean Dumpsite Study
This would fund a Scripps Institution of Oceanography study to determine impact of dumping of the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) across the San Pedro Basin in Southern California.

$2 million for Kelp Restoration and Recovery in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary
This funding would support the Greater Farallones Kelp Recovery project, which aims to restore bull kelp forest along the Sonoma and Mendocino coastlines within Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary through urchin population management, outplanting kelp, monitoring, mapping and community engagement.

These projects and programs were included in the Senate’s Interior and Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bills. Complete summaries and texts of these bills are available here.