Three county water systems set to get state funding

Walker-Mangiaracina State Small Waster System is poised to receive almost $400,000 in state funding for a new well, Woodville and Teviston water projects set to receive funding in the near future

TULARE COUNTY – Three Tulare County water systems stand to get some much needed funding in light of the state’s Small Community Drought Relief Program.

The state’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced last Wednesday, Aug. 18, the they are dolling out the first $25 million out of a $200 million commitment to water systems. Among the first systems to get their state allotment was the Walker-Mangiaracina State Small Waster System near Visalia.

The Walker-Mangiaracina system’s well failed in June 2021, forcing residents to depend on a fire hose for their water supply. The community will receive $397,033 in funding to extend an existing water main from Visalia to ensure a reliable water supply, with additional homes expected to be connected as part of the project.

“The climate-induced drought has challenged Californians on several fronts, including small community water systems,” DWR director Karla Nemeth said. “Our goal is to provide immediate and near-term financial and technical support to help small communities overcome this drought and future droughts.”

The Small Community Drought Relief Program assists communities that are not served by an urban water supplier with at least 3,000 connections or that provides more than 3,000 acre-feet of drinking water annually. The program is one of several drought funding programs available through the State. An additional $100 million in grant funding for urban drought relief projects and $200 million for multi-benefit drought relief projects is expected to be released this fall.

The two other projects in Tulare County are for the Woodville Public Utility District south of Farmersville and the Teviston Community Services District south of Pixley. The Woodville PUD will get $2.2 million in funding for a well pump, booster pump station and a water storage tank. The Teviston project will receive just shy of $4 million for a new well, water storage tank and a backup generator. These projects are expected to be funded in later rounds of the $200 million disbursement.

“Drought is a compounding stressor to already struggling and vulnerable drinking water systems in the state,” Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Board, said. “DWR’s investments in critical water supply projects will provide much-needed emergency assistance as the state continues building the long-term resilience of our water systems. This new program also highlights the criticality of continued coordination between local, state and federal agencies to support communities that are responding to intensifying drought conditions.”

The other projects already included for this first $25 million round of funding are: the Hornbrook Community Services District in Siskiyou County. Faced with a fading water supply due to drought, the district is set to receive $1,160,000 in funding to install a new well, refurbish existing wells, and replace leaking pipelines. In the interim, the state is providing bottled water to residents.

The last project funded under this round is the Frazier Park Public Utility District in Kern County. The disadvantaged community of Frazier Park is currently burdened with aging pipelines that are susceptible to leaks which has been further exasperated due to the current drought. As a solution, the community will be awarded $9,851,450 in funding to replace 24,000 linear feet of pipelines.

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