river in sunset with paved ramp

RCDs Awarded $5.5M for Community Water Resilience Projects


California resource conservation districts are awarded over $5.5 million through the Department of Water Resources' Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grant

As climate change reduces the reliability of California’s water supply, one way that communities can adapt is to take a collaborative, regional, planned approach to water management. Through the California Department of Water Resources’ Integrated Regional Water Management Implementation Grant, resource conservation districts (RCDs) are doing just that. In summer 2020, eight RCDs were collectively awarded $5.5 million in funding to implement projects which will improve regional water self-reliance security and adapt to the effects on water supply arising out of climate change. These solutions range from restoring watershed habitat, working with landowners to conserve water, testing drinking water quality, preparing for flood, and helping farmers conserve water.

Read about what the Gold Ridge RCD Sonoma RCD, Napa County RCD, Antelope Valley RCD, Sierra RCD, Mariposa County RCD, RCD of Monterey County, RCD of Santa Cruz County, and their partners are doing to make their communities more resilient.

Gold Ridge RCD & Sonoma RCD’s Rainwater Catchment Rebate and Streamflow Enhancement Pilot Project

Through work by the Sonoma Water, the Gold Ridge RCD, the Sonoma RCD, Sonoma-Marin Saving Water Partnership, and Daily Acts, this project will develop and implement a pilot rebate and training program to promote household-level water supply awareness and self-reliance through rainwater catchment. Partners will assist rebate applicants with onsite project scoping, system design, implementation oversight, and system verification and monitoring. Rebates will be provided on a tiered, per-gallon basis designed to incentivize both large and small rainwater catchment systems. The partners will also create and promote a training module through the Qualified Water-Efficient Landscapers program in both English and Spanish and conduct trainings to certify licensed landscapers in rainwater catchment permitting, design, and installation. A second workshop series led by Daily Acts will provide instruction and technical assistance to assist residents and small businesses to install smaller systems on their own.

A smaller-scale residential rainwater catchment system the installed by the RCDs. Photo courtesy of the Gold Ridge RCD.

Napa County RCD’s Calistoga Water and Habitat Project

The Napa County RCD will be supporting the City of Calistoga in implementing the Calistoga Water & Habitat Project, which was awarded about $2M in Bay Area IRWM funding. The project includes three primary components, which together will improve the City’s water supply, provide safe and reliable wastewater treatment to the citizens of Calistoga, improve in-stream and riparian habitat conditions in the Napa River watershed, and remove two fish passage barriers. An income survey of the City of Calistoga found that its Median Household Income was 65% lower than the state’s levels, so this project will directly benefit one of Napa County’s disadvantaged communities.

Antelope Valley RCD’s Antelope Valley Resource Conservation Plan

Through the Antelope Valley Resource Conservation Plan, the Antelope Valley RCD provides funding for homeowners to remove grass on their property and replace it with water wise landscaping. Where most grass rebate programs are restricted to the water district boundaries where the homeowner resides, this rebate program is RCD-boundary wide, allowing homeowners that might not have been able to participate in this type of program before to qualify. Additionally, the plants that will be used to replace the grass are low water use plants that are grown at the Antelope Valley RCD’s nursery located in Lancaster, California. A second component to the plan provides funds for improvements to the Antelope Valley RCD’s Conservation Garden. The Conservation Garden is a two acre area located at their nursery to promote the use of low water use and native plants. The grant provides funding to construct two educational buildings, potting sheds and walk paths. This garden will ultimately be used to provide educational school trips for children.

Sierra RCD’s Well Vulnerability Decision Support Tool

The Sierra RCD is collaborating with the Lawrence Livermore National Labs and California State University (CSU) East Bay to implement water quality testing in the underserved Sierra foothill communities. The Lawrence Labs will be performing isotopic analysis of the well water for community water system, and the CSU East Bay faculty and students will be performing bacteriological, radiological and chemical constituent analyses. Results from these analyses will determine if the water is safe to drink or if more action is necessary.

Recently Announced

More projects were announced last week. The Mariposa County RCD was awarded $708,428 for the Bootjack Fire Station Water Storage Project. The RCD of Monterey County was awarded a total of $841,694 for the Monterey County Farm Nutrient Management and Water Quality Assistance Program and the Salinas River Flood and Habitat Improvement Program. The RCD of Santa Cruz County was awarded $1,179,588 for the Countywide Sediment Reduction from Developed Parcels and Rural Roads and Watsonville Slough Farms Wetland Restoration Project.