California announces drought relief funding, conservation stressed

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Faced with a worsening drought situation, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced yesterday $29 million in funding for 44 drought relief projects.  Aimed primarily at underrepresented and Tribal communities, the projects are intended to improve water supply reliability, address drinking water quality, and support water conservation.

“As our state’s current drought situation worsens, California continues to invest in our future water supply and anticipate water supply challenges,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “This funding will provide our state’s underrepresented and Tribal communities with new resources to address the challenges brought on by drought while building local resilience.”

Parties that Received Drought Relief Funding.

A full list of all drought relief projects funded by DWR to date can be viewed hereOpens in a new tab.. Highlights of the awards include:

  • The Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria in Humboldt County will receive $1.2 million to upgrade portions of the existing wastewater treatment plant to provide reclaimed water for irrigation and fire suppression.
  • The Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Authority will receive $525,000 to address drinking water reliability for underrepresented communities in the Tuolumne-Stanislaus region and specifically address the human right to water for unhoused residents. California law states that every person has the right to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water.
  • The Box Springs Mutual Water Company in Riverside County will receive $1.6 million to install a new storage tank that will increase storage capacity and water reliability.
  • The Valley County Water District in Los Angeles County will receive $750,000 to rehabilitate and reactivate a community groundwater well to meet drinking water standards and increase water supply.
  • The Littlerock Creek Irrigation District in Los Angeles County will receive $1.1 million to replace 5.6 miles of aging water main pipes to ensure a reliable water supply for the community.
  • The Fall River Valley Community Services District in Shasta County will receive $785,000 to replace aging well infrastructure, including a 44-year-old well pump, and secure an emergency standby generator.
  • The Sierra Resource Conservation District in Fresno County will receive $525,000 to upgrade five critical community and public groundwater-based water systems that have been impacted by severe drought and the Creek Fire of 2020.
  • The Mattole Restoration Council in Humboldt County will receive $345,000 topurchase and install rainwater catchment storage tanks for local volunteer fire departments in the Mattole and Eel watersheds.
  • In addition to the $29 million for underrepresented and Tribal communities, the state is also awarding $5.8 million to the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Cross Valley Pipeline Extension Project. The project will support groundwater recharge in the Santa Clara Subbasin, which is a high-priority basin supplying drinking water to the southern San Francisco Bay Area, including San Jose, and more than 2,000 water supply wells. The project is currently underway, and these funds will support completion of the project.

This funding is made available through the Urban and Multibenefit drought relief programOpens in a new tab., which works to address immediate drought impacts on human health and safety. DWR says that the program has worked quickly to expedite the funding process after launching in fall 2021 and has delivered more than $268 million in financial assistance to 126 projects in 28 counties. The funded projects invest in long-term solutions to help communities withstand the current and future droughts.

The Critical Role of Water Conservation.

While California continues to make investments in water infrastructure to plan for more frequent, intense droughts, the state warns that it is also critically important that all Californians do their part to use water wisely. Governor Newsom called for a voluntary 15 percent cut in water usage and urged local water agencies to enact stricter mandatory restrictions where necessary. More information and water-saving tips are available at saveourwater.comOpens in a new tab..



Low water levels are seen at Pyramid Lake on June 8, 2022. California Department of Water Resources.


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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