Late last month, the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee (Committee) conducted an oversight hearing for the California Water Commission’s (CWC) Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP).  During the hearing, Committee members expressed strong concerns about the WSIP process, including review criteria and the timeline for allocating the funds.  The Committee also focused on the need to include appropriate process steps for the allocation process.  

The witness panel for the hearing was comprised of CWC Chair Armando Quintero, CWC Vice Chair Carol Baker, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) Deputy Executive Director for Government Relations Cindy Tuck, and Environmental Defense Fund Association Vice President of Water for the Ecosystems Program Maurice Hall.

The Committee’s interest was sparked by recent actions involving the CWC’s staff assessment of the “Public Benefit Ratios” attached to the 11 projects submitted for Proposition 1 funding.  Subsequent to this action, meetings with applicants ensued, and the CWC members themselves expressed some concern with the staff’s approach and resulting delay in deploying Proposition 1 funds.  Committee members pressed CWC Chair Quintero to commit to additional meetings in early April to allow for questions and clarifications regarding any appeals to the project submittals.  In the end, Committee Chair Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) indicated his intent to formally request the CWC to allow for these additional opportunities for applicants.

The next key WSIP milestones are April 20th and May 25th when CWC staff reviews responses to the appeals and their revised Public Benefit Ratio Scores are scheduled for release.