$7.2 million in grants have been approved by Exeter city council that will now allow them to consolidate with Tooleville’s water system
EXETER – Tooleville’s water quality and quantity issues may become a thing of the past by 2025. Exeter’s city council made a major move that could temporarily alleviate Tooleville’s residents’ need for water, until a permanent solution can be put in place.
On Sept. 13, the Exeter city Council adopted a resolution for the Exeter-Tooleville Emergency Intertie and Water System Improvement Project. The approval of this resolution will enable the city to finally receive grant funding and begin on a planned water improvement project with Tooleville, whose wells are not only running dry, but have been unusable for quite some time. This is only an interim solution until full consolidation can be achieved with the city of Exeter over the next eight years. The California Department of Water Resources will fund this project with a $7.2 million grant, and it is expected to take two years to complete.
“We couldn’t use the regular state waterboard funding because it takes two years just to get through their funding process,” city manager Adam Ennis said. “So, they determined that the Department of Water Resources has a drought relief program that can fund it.”
The interim solution will involve installing a new well in Exeter. They are hoping to place it at the intersection of Quince and Davis street, according to Ennis. This well will be attached to a pipeline that runs all the way to Tooleville and will fill their water storage tanks. There will be a master meter placed on this location, which would allow Exeter to measure the amount of water used by Tooleville. Tooleville would continue charging residents what they already pay now, but would pay the city of Exeter out of those funds collected.
In order to get this project going, emergency funding was needed from the state so that improvements could be made in a timely manner. The final step to receiving the grant was approval from the city council on Tuesday, Sept. 13.
In order to fully consolidate with Tooleville’s, Exeter would have to fix their own water infrastructure first in order to take on that large of a task, which would take up to eight years to complete and cost the city a total of $15.6 million. However, Tooleville is currently running off of one well and cannot wait eight years as their water supply diminishes, which is why this interim solution was put into play.
“There actually were two test wells done out [in Tooleville] in the past where the water well driller came back and said there’s no viable source in the locations they tried to get water from,” Ennis said.
While this interim solution is in place, Exeter will also be working on the eight year plan to reach full consolidation with Tooleville. For this plan, Exeter will build an additional well, install a half-million gallon storage tank, replace seven different pipelines and connect lines to a booster pump station. Lastly, the city would demolish two of Toolevilles wells, Alfred well and Morgan well, that have gone dry.
Exeter’s storage tank is currently planned for Dobson Field in Exeter, according to Ennis. When the two cities are able to consolidate, Tooleville Mutual Nonprofit Water Association will no longer exist and residents of Tooleville will pay the city of Exeter for their water.