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WASHINGTON (KTXL) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an $81 million loan to the Sacramento County Water Agency in northern California to modernize the county’s water infrastructure and help make the water supply more climate-resilient. 

“The Sacramento County Water Agency’s project is critical to fighting drought and reducing climate change impacts,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “The EPA is committed to helping communities pursue smarter water management strategies, and we are proud to help finance this project to benefit local residents for generations to come. This represents the future of water in the West.”

The loan will help Sacramento County meet current fire protection standards and water metering by financing a portion of the cost to install 30 miles of new distribution pipeline, 260 fire hydrants and 3,000 new water meters.

The installations are part of the agency’s Arden Service Area Distribution System Realignment and Meter Installation Project with the goal of cutting water loss and lowering the frequency of waterline breaks.

“The funded project will upgrade the Arden Service Area water distribution system by installing larger pipes to increase system capacity, improve fire flow, and bolster system reliability while making more efficient the operation and maintenance of the system,” said Michael Peterson, the director of the Sacramento County Water Agency. “The project also includes the installation of water meters for all service area connections, which will ensure the Agency meets compliance with California metering mandates.”

The total project costs $165 million and the $81 million EPA loan will finance about half the amount.

The loan is part of the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, which is a federal loan and guarantee program administered by the EPA.

The Sacramento County Water Agency said it will save approximately $22 million through its WIFIA financing.

The project, from construction to operation, is expected to create an estimated 530 jobs and is expected to be completed in 2025.

For more information about WIFIA loans, tap or click here.