Proposed Tax Credit Bonds for New Water Supplies Endorsed by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Washington, DC (May 11, 2007) – Only three percent of the entire world’s water is fresh and the earth’s rising population is constantly vying for this incredibly valuable resource. This statistic is just one of the reasons the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) has endorsed legislation asking congress to authorize tax credit bonds to help finance the growing need for new water supply infrastructure.
As a member of the New Water Supply Coalition (NWSC), a national organization comprised of water agencies encouraging the development of new desalination, groundwater treatment and recycling facilities, MWD is joined by many other member agencies seeking federal financial assistance for new water supply projects.
“I am pleased that the Metropolitan Water District has taken the lead in seeking legislative assistance for the development of new water supplies,” said Hal Furman, Executive Director of the New Water Supply Coalition. “Clean Renewable Water Supply Bonds are crucial to meeting future water needs and will alleviate a costly burden from being placed on local water agencies and ratepayers to finance alternative water supply infrastructure in the future.”
Tax credit bonds have been authorized by Congress on only three unique occasions in the past; in the mid 90s for the construction of inner city schools, in 2005 for renewable energy projects and that same year for Gulf Coast reconstruction following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The New Water Supply Coalition is seeking new legislation in the 110th Congress that would authorize public water agencies to issue tax credit bonds for coastal and brackish water desalination facilities and to develop new water supplies with groundwater and water reclamation projects. The bond term will be limited to 20 years and the proceeds have to be spent within five years. The tax credit bonds would benefit water agencies through increased cash flow during the early project years, when major financial shortage is typical and would provide significant federal assistance through reducing capital financing costs.
“Our growing national population and the challenges posed by climate change make the development of new water supplies a critical priority for our nation,” said Furman. “We have the technology to develop new water supplies if it becomes a national priority, but time is of the essence.”
Over the next 20 years, Metropolitan’s Local Resources and Seawater Desalination Programs plan on developing about 300,000 acre-feet of new supply each year, requiring almost $2 billion in capital investment, which could significantly benefit from tax credit bonds. Metropolitan’s endorsement for the tax credit bonds bill will help the new plan to move forward through the congressional legislative process.
The New Water Supply Coalition is a non-profit District of Columbia trade association comprised of water agencies and utilities throughout the nation. The goal of the Coalition is to develop and pass before the conclusion of the 110th Congress, legislation that would authorize public water agencies to issue tax credit bonds as a financing vehicle for new water supplies. For more information about the New Water Supply Coalition visit www.newwatersupply.org.