DWR funds $53M in drought projects

Department of Water Resources awards more than $53 million in Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Funding, six Tulare County projects receive funding

SACRAMENTO – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released its first phase of awards to 20 projects through the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program. The funding awards will provide critical support to communities across the state dealing with the impacts of drought conditions.

Authorized by the Budget Act of 2021, the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program was allotted $200 million to assist communities facing the loss or contamination of their water supplies due to drought help address immediate drought impacts on human health and safety, and protect fish and wildlife resources. Response to this grant program was overwhelming with 147 projects submitted for funding in the first phase. Fourteen of the 20 projects awarded will benefit disadvantaged communities and Tribes.

“As we develop long-term strategies to address California’s changing climate and future dry conditions, we must take action now to assist local and regional agencies in managing through another historic drought,” said DWR director Karla Nemeth. “We remain committed to investing in our communities today to ensure a future built on safe and reliable water supplies and a healthy environment.”

Six of the 20 projects receiving grant funding are in Tulare County. In total, Tulare County projects received 99.5% of the $9 million awarded for disadvantaged communities:

  • Allensworth Community Services District was awarded $345,000 to install new smart meters with Advanced Metering Infrastructure would be installed and greatly improve water management, leak detection, and enhance conservation participation.
  • Ducor Community Services District was awarded $1.6 million to construct a new water tank which will provide 210,000 gallons of new water storage.
  • Lost Hills Utility District was awarded $1.3 million to s construct a new well, Well No. 3. The well is being designed to extract 800 gallons per minute (gpm) and will connect to the district’s existing water treatment and distribution system to supply the community of Lost Hills.
  • Rainbird Valley Mutual Water Company was awarded just over $1 million to drill a production well that will furnish clean drinking water to four communities.
  • Lebec County Water District was awarded $395,000 to improve water pressure with new water mains and construction of new booster station. The project will also include new fire hydrants that will improve fire protection in the area.
  • County government also received $260,000 to administer the grant for these disadvantaged communities.

Among the other projects set to receive grant funding:

  • The city of Fort Bragg in Mendocino County will receive $8.8 million for structural lining and reconstruction of 9,250 feet of pipeline that supplies over half the water used by the city, which faced acute water supply challenges earlier this year. The project will strengthen resilience by ensuring reliable delivery of water during future drought events.
  • The Tuolumne Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Authority will receive $1.1 million to construct a 400,000-gallon potable water storage tank that will provide water to 175 homes on the Tuolumne Rancheria of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians.
  • The El Dorado Irrigation District will receive $10 million to construct an inter-tie between drinking water sources to increase system reliability in response to major impacts to its infrastructure by this year’s Caldor Fire.
  • In Sacramento County, the Regional Water Authority will receive $650,000 to complete planning for the Sacramento Regional Water Bank. This will be the first federally recognized water bank in the Sacramento Valley with an estimated 2 million acre-feet of available capacity.
  • The Western Municipal Water District in Riverside County will receive $1.7 million to construct a polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) treatment system at the Western Water Recycling Facility. The project will allow recharge of 985 acre-feet of recycled water per year to the Arlington groundwater basin, which has declined by nearly 60 percent in the last 25 years.
  • The Merced Irrigation District will receive $4 million to upgrade a structural facility on Bear Creek to accommodate flood-managed aquifer recharge operations and increase flow capacity to accommodate future storms.

DWR will continue to accept applications for the next phase of awards until midnight January 14. Due to high demand, applicants are encouraged to submit applications that satisfy all completeness, eligibility and technical review criteria, and are as responsive as possible to one or more of the three funding priorities. Funding is currently available for public agencies, public utilities, Tribes, special districts, non-profit organizations, mutual water companies, colleges, and regional water management groups. To date, the Department has received $850 million in project funding requests.

The program is one of several drought funding programs available through the State. For information about other DWR and State drought response efforts and funding programs, visit drought.ca.gov.

For questions about the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program, please contact DWR at [email protected]

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