Tulare County to Administer $2 Million Grant for Disadvantaged Community Water Study Project

August 17, 2010

Tulare County will administer a $2 million state planning grant to address the drinking and wastewater needs for disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin, which includes Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties.

On Tuesday, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved an agreement with the California Department of Water Resources to accept the $2 million in funding for the County of Tulare Disadvantaged Community Water Study Project.

District One Supervisor Allen Ishida said the Tulare County Water Commission pushed to seek the funding, which comes from Proposition 84 bond money. In 2006, California voters approved Proposition 84, which authorized $90 million for planning and incentives to reduce energy consumption, conserve water, improve air and water, and provide other benefits. 

Supervisor Ishida said Laurel Firestone, a Tulare County Water Commissioner and co-founder of the Community Water Center, played an integral role in lobbying for the funding.

“This is a tremendous first step to addressing the drinking and wastewater needs of some of our region’s poorest communities,” said District One Supervisor Allen Ishida, who serves on the Tulare County Water Commission. “I would like to commend the members of the Water Commission for being diligent in seeking this funding.”

The Tulare County Water Commission is designed to examine a wide variety of water issues that impact Tulare County. The water commission serves as an advisory body to the Board of Supervisors and is made up of local water experts including engineers, water district managers, elected officials and community activists.

The Disadvantaged Community Water Study Project will seek to identify the water and wastewater problems affecting disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin and develop recommended solutions to address these problems through pilot projects and studies. The purpose of the this project is to develop a plan that provides rural, disadvantaged communities with a safe, clean and affordable potable water supply and effective and affordable wastewater treatment and disposal.

Some of the tasks involved in the water study project include:

- Developing a database of all disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin and includes data covering groundwater quality, groundwater recharge areas, etc.

- Stakeholder consultation and community outreach.

- Selecting and designed pilot projects and studies to develop solutions to priority issues.

- Implementing pilot projects.

- Prepare and finalize a report to the State Legislature.

The project start date is Oct. 1, 2010 and will last through March 31, 2014.

Review the grant agreement.