Location: SCR 357
Funding Mechanisms for Water Projects
WATER RESOURCES REVIEW COMMITTEE
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03:03 PM -- Funding Mechanisms for Water Projects
Rebecca Mitchell, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), explained that the legislature appropriated $10 million in the CWCB Construction Fund Bill (House Bill 17-1248) to fund studies, programs, or projects that implement the state water plan. She also discussed the process for applying for these grants and identified the eligibility requirements for such projects.
Kirk Russell, Finance Section Chief, Colorado Water Conservation Board, explained the CWCB Construction Fund receives approximately $40 million each year from severance tax revenue (Attachment J). The fund is the state's largest revolving loan program to finance water diversion and storage projects. It receives revenue from the repayment of loans, interest on the fund in the state treasury, and federal mineral royalty distributions. The board is authorized to adjust loan interest rates that currently range from 1.75 percent for agricultural loans and 2.50 to 3.25 percent for municipal loans. The minimum value for loans is $100,000. The CWCB is authorized to issue loans for less than $10 million without General Assembly approval. For loans under $10 million, the board is required to submit a report by January 15 of each year to the Colorado General Assembly describing the basis for such loans, called the small project loan report. Approximately 70 percent of the CWCB Construction Fund loans are issued to agricultural borrowers and 30 percent are issued to municipalities.. He identified water diversion and storage projects funded by the CWCB Construction Fund loans. He also identified other programs that receive funding from the CWCB Construction Fund in the annual appropriation bill including moneys for water rights litigation and satellite monitoring of water resources.
Mr. Russell identified funding to implement the Colorado Water Plan and the need for additional funding to address the water supply gap. He also responded to questions from the committee about CWCB Construction Fund borrowers and the risk of default for such borrowers. Mr. Russell to responded to questions from the committee about the application process and eligibility for the grants to implement the Colorado Water Plan. He also discussed funding to address intestate compacts litigation.