The IRWM program attempts to identify and address water issues impacting Disadvantaged Communities, Economically Distressed Areas, and Underrepresented Communities (collectively, “DACs”) in East Contra Costa County. Many of the water supply and water quality issues facing DACs in the Region relate to requirements to maintain drinking water quality that meets applicable standards, the threat of damage from flooding, and a strong reliance on Delta supplies. Increase costs of supplies or treatment have disproportionately adverse effects on DACs, whose limited resources may threaten their access to drinking water if costs grow too high. Bethel Island, which is entirely DAC, relies on groundwater for its drinking water supplies. This groundwater has high levels of arsenic, and projects are currently being developed to address this issue.
Issues of special concern to DACs in the Region include:
Improved water supply reliability / reduced reliance on Delta supplies
Water quality of groundwater supplies used to supplement Delta supplies
Infrastructure renovations necessary to assure continued reliability of the minimum quality and quantity of water
Affordability programs to offset the rising costs of water service
Flood and stormwater management projects designed to protect disadvantaged communities from flooding impacts
According to the 2012 Proposition 84 and 1E Guidelines, a “disadvantaged community” (DAC) is defined by the State of California as a community with an annual median household income (MHI) that is less than 80 percent of the statewide MHI (Public Resources Code (PRC), 75005(g)).
A community with an MHI of $48,706 or less is considered a DAC. Under past grant funding applications, approximately 19% of the Region’s area qualifies as DAC, while 23% of its population lives within a DAC. As of the 2015 IRWM Plan update, this number had dropped to 19% of the region’s population qualified as DAC, reflecting some recovery from the recent economic downturn.
DACs and IRWM
The statewide IRWM Program has prioritized addressing water issues in DACs, and as such, has provided some incentives to encourage inclusion of DAC projects in funding applications, and to ease the requirements for DACs to receive funding. In general, projects which are located within DACs and address critical water supply and water quality needs of a DAC are eligible for a funding match waiver, and are eligible to receive implementation grant funding for planning projects that would lay the groundwork for a future implementation project. Consistent with statewide priorities and local and regional needs, the East Contra Costa County IRWM Program also considers addressing DAC needs a priorities.
Including at least one DAC project in a regional funding application has also traditionally provided additional and/or tie-breaker points during DWR’s evaluation of applications. For the East Contra Costa County IRWM region, including DAC projects can provide that extra edge to make a funding application successful.
For more information, follow the links below to view the Department of Water Resources’ Proposition 1 Economically Distressed Area and Disadvantaged Mapping Tools:
The Economically Distressed Area Instructions can be found at: http://www.water.ca.gov/irwm/grants/resources_eda.cfm.
The Economically Distressed Area Mapping Tool can be found at: https://gis.water.ca.gov/app/edas/.
Disadvantage Communities Mapping Tool: https://gis.water.ca.gov/app/dacs/