Drinking-water fund untapped

State fails to spend hundreds of millions set aside for water infrastructure

California has failed to spend hundreds of millions of federal dollars intended to improve drinking-water infrastructure, federal regulators said April 19.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the California Department of Public Health citing noncompliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to The Associated Press.

The state has failed to spend about $455 million of the $1.5 billion it has received for its Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund over the past 15 years, accounting for the program’s largest unspent amount in the nation. The fund is designed to aid public and private water systems in improving drinking-water infrastructure like treatment facilities, pipelines and other projects.

According to federal authorities, California needs to spend $39 billion on water-infrastructure improvements through 2026.