Press Release Provided by California Department of Water Resources
As part of ongoing efforts to help small communities address water supply challenges amid extreme drought and build water resilience for the future, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced its eighth round of funding through the Small Community Drought Relief Program.
In coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, the program will provide $40 million to 15 projects in Butte, Humboldt, Lake, Madera, Mariposa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Sierra, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo counties. Of the selected projects, 12 will directly benefit disadvantaged communities to implement long-term solutions such as pipeline replacement, well installation, and infrastructure upgrades to improve water resilience and water quality.
“Many of our state’s most vulnerable communities still struggle to get access to clean, safe drinking water. These funded projects will increase local water supplies while helping communities adapt to more extreme weather patterns caused by climate change,” said Kristopher Tjernell, Deputy Director of Integrated Watershed Management at DWR. “As we prepare for a fourth dry year, we will continue to work with the State Water Resources Control Board to expedite assistance to our communities in need.”
Some of the communities set to receive funding include:
Oceano Community Services District: In San Luis Obispo County, the water system serving the Oceano Community has several pipelines that are leaking and losing significant amounts of water. The district will receive $268,000 to replace approximately 1,350 feet of pipelines, which will save approximately 270,000 gallons of water per year.
Mount Konocti Mutual Water Company: In Lake County, the community’s water supply is threatened as the drought causes water levels to decrease in Clear Lake. Furthermore, the community is experiencing substantial water loss from its existing water storage tanks. The company will receive $2.3 million to replace leaking water storage tanks and install low water intake pumps.
Banning Heights Mutual Water Company: In Riverside County, the community of Banning Heights is struggling without a water source due to the prolonged drought and damage to critical water infrastructure caused by the Apple Fire in 2020. The company will receive $3.7 million to construct a new well and water tank and implement a hauled water program.
Sky View County Water District: In Tehama County, the local disadvantaged community relies on one groundwater well and is struggling to meet water demands for residents and fire protection due to aging pipelines. The district will receive $5 million to provide safe drinking water to residents.
Burnt Ranch Estates Mutual Water Company: In Trinity County, the water system serving the small mountain community is stressed due to leaky infrastructure. The company will receive $2.5 million to replace two water storage tanks and leaking pipelines.
Madison Community Services District: In Yolo County, the water distribution system serving the Madison community is leaking excessively and experiencing catastrophic pipeline failures. Recent fractures have led to the loss of 315,000 gallons of potable water. The district will receive $3.8 million to replace the existing water distribution system and implement well-site improvements.
Garberville Sanitary District: In Humboldt County, three of the community’s tanks are leaking and capacity of the tanks has been reduced by 60 percent. As a solution, the district will receive $4.5 million to replace the three leaking tanks with two new tanks.
City of Exeter (Tooleville): In Tulare County, the community of Tooleville has struggled with securing a safe water supply for years and currently relies on bottled water for drinking water needs. In addition, the current drought has caused the water quantity and quality of the two wells serving the community to deteriorate further. The community will receive $7.2 million to construct a new well and intertie to consolidate with the nearby City of Exeter.
The Small Community Drought Relief Program has delivered $216 million in financial assistance since receiving funding from the Budget Act of 2021. In this year’s budget, the program received an additional $121 million that will allow the program to continue to assist small communities and start a new Water Tank Program. Expected to launch this fall, the new program will provide tanks and hauled water to communities that are in immediate need of potable water supplies. The program will be led by DWR in coordination with the California Office of Emergency Services, Department of General Services, and the State Water Resources Control Board.