April 18, 2023 — The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) has expedited $17 million in funding from its Urban Community Drought Relief Program to support the consolidation of 10 water systems in underrepresented communities in San Benito and Monterey Counties. These communities rely primarily on groundwater for their drinking water supply, and the funding aims to address critical emergencies caused by contaminated groundwater wells and depleted groundwater supplies.
San Benito County will receive $13.2 million to consolidate four failing small water systems with the Sunnyslope Water District, while Monterey County will receive $4.2 million to consolidate six failing small water systems with California Water Service. This initiative is expected to improve access to clean, reliable drinking water supplies for the affected communities.
Despite recent storms improving surface water supplies, groundwater basins require more time to recover and are threatened by severe flooding in the Central Coast region. The funding is part of the 2022 Urban Community Drought Relief program, which delivered $46 million for projects that enhance long-term drought and climate resilience. The remaining grant funding will be awarded in May 2023.
The program is part of DWR’s “Go Golden” initiative, designed to help organizations, water agencies, and communities build long-term water conservation and water resilience planning. As climate change continues to exacerbate drought and flood extremes, Californians must implement new programs to manage water resources and ensure a thriving economy, community, and environment. Updates on the “Go Golden” initiative are published in the State’s free email subscription service.