Drought relief to aid parched Pixley

Dept. of Water Resources sends $1.8 million to rehabilitate dilapidated water system in disadvantaged community

TULARE COUNTY – Drought relief funding continues to pour into the Valley for small communities struggling with water supply issues.

On Nov. 9, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced its fourth round of funding for its Small Community Drought Relief program. Among the latest round was $1.8 million for the Pixley Public Utility District to rehabilitate the existing well, install a backup generator, and replace leaking water mains. The disadvantaged Tulare County community is dealing with small and leaky pipelines with no backup power source making them vulnerable to losing water during the current drought. In addition, the existing well casing has been compromised in several locations due to subsidence.

“As climate change further exacerbates dry conditions in California, it’s imperative that we take action now to strengthen drought resilience in our small and rural communities as we prepare for the possibility of a third dry year,” said Kris Tjernell, DWR deputy director of integrated watershed management, “DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board will continue coordinating to identify projects for future phases of funding and provide support to our residents who need it most.”

Pixley was among 14 projects identified for funding in 10 counties: Tulare, Lake, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sonoma, Humboldt, Santa Barbara, San Mateo, Yolo and Colusa. Of the 14 projects, about half will benefit disadvantaged communities and range from covering the cost of hauled water to constructing new wells and replacing leaky pipelines identified by the DWR and State Water Resources Control Board.

“Directing funding to get safe and reliable water to those in need is not only a crucial answer to the many hardships this drought has caused, it goes a long way toward meeting our moral obligation that every Californian has a human right to water,” said Jonathan Bishop, chief deputy director of the State Water Board.

Other small communities to receive a portion of the $25 million include:

  • $4.1 million to Westhaven Community Services District in Humboldt County
  • $735,000 to Sweetwater Springs Water District in Sonoma County
  • $1.8 million to Harbor View Mutual Water Company in Lake County
  • $718,000 to the County of Colusa
  • $3.2 million to San Lorenzo Valley Water District in Santa Cruz County
  • $2 million to San Mateo Resource Conservation District in San Mateo County

Since its launch earlier this summer, the Small Community Drought Relief program has awarded over $65 million total in funding to 37 projects in 16 counties. In addition to the Small Community Drought Relief Program, DWR recently published the final guidelines for the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program. The program includes an additional $200 million in grant funding for urban water suppliers and multi-benefit drought relief projects to address hardships caused by drought.

For more information about available drought relief funding, please visit water.ca.gov/Water-Basics/Drought/Drought-Funding.

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