The Calexico City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the City to enter into a Funding Agreement with the State of California Department of Water Resources to receive funds for the New River Improvement Project -Calexico Reach Infrastructure Improvements; and approve a Professional Services Agreement with Jose L. Angel, P.E., to provide project management and administrative services on the New River Improvement Project.
The continued support from the State of California for the New River Improvement Project has resulted in an allocation of $28 million to begin the approved infrastructure projects in “Reach 1” in Calexico as identified in the New River Improvement Project Strategic Plan. The funding agreement will consist of $18 million of one-time general fund dollars from the State of California 2020-2021 budget and $10 million from Proposition 68.
The project consists of three primary construction components identified in the New River Improvement Strategic Plan – Calexico Reach. The three primary construction components include a trash screen at the international boundary with Mexico; bypass encasement infrastructure for the river from a point downstream of the international boundary to a point downstream of the eastern boundary of the City of Calexico in order to bypass the populated southern area of the city; and a pump-back system to take treated wastewater from the existing Calexico VVWTP and discharge it into the New River channel at a point near the proposed river diversion and encasement structure.
The project also includes project management, engineering services, and construction management. The city would enter into a professional services agreement with Jose L. Angel, P.E., to provide project management and administration services consisting of team coordination, city communication, project budget tracking, project schedule tracking, and project invoicing and to develop monthly progress reports and a final project completion report. Angel would attend a kickoff meeting, conduct progress meetings, and provide quality assurance/quality control review and analysis, if necessary.
“The State of California and all interested stakeholders agree that Mr. Angel possesses the experience necessary and is uniquely situated to provide the project management services required for the successful completion of the projects identified,” City Manager Miguel Figueroa said.
There is no general fund fiscal impact. The award from the State is in the form of a reimbursable grant and requires the City to enter into an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources to administer the grant. The project management services would be paid for from these grant funds. Funding of administration and project management work will not exceed 10% of the funding agreement.
The New River is a severely polluted waterway that flows 60 miles north across the United States-Mexico border, through the City of Calexico, and discharges in the Salton Sea. The water quality impairments have threatened public health and the natural environment for decades while hindering economic development within the region.
On October 27, 2020, the County of Imperial proclaimed the existence of a local emergency resulting from a September 18, 2020 discharge from the City of Mexicali, Mexico of approximately 4, 131 cubic meters of untreated wastewater into the New River. Such discharges expose County residents, workers, and visitors to toxic substances and pathogens, including Salmonella, E. Coli, and excessively high concentrations of fecal coliform. According to the County of Imperial proclamation, immediate action is required to respond to the threat of danger to the public’s health and safety caused by the discharges of danger to the public’s health and safety caused by the discharges of wastewater and other pollutants into the New River.
The New River Improvement Project Strategic Plan, which has garnered comprehensive support from local stakeholders and environmental justice advocates, will address persistent regional disparities, improve public health, and will create local jobs.