Dozens of Monson residents gathered at the Luengas Family Residence to celebrate the new water system that will provide safe and reliable drinking water to the community in time for the holidays. After many years of collaboration by the Monson – Sultana communities and a multitude of agencies and organizations, water is now flowing to the people of Monson.
“This is great news for the residents of Monson who have endured water quality issues for years, even before recent drought impacts that caused reduced groundwater supplies,” stated Tulare County Supervisor Steve Worthley who represents the community of Monson.
Monson, an unincorporated community located in Tulare County, has experienced many struggles with dry wells and poor water quality due to high nitrates. A long-term solution is coming to the community historically served by individual wells and recently many residents have been relying on deliveries, provided by the City of Dinuba and the Orosi Public Utility District, of bottled water and water trucked in to large temporary water tanks installed on their properties.
With support from an array of funding sources, the Monson Community Well and Water System has completed Phase One – the drilling of a community well and construction of a water distribution system that brings water to approximately 30 homes in Monson.
The $2.11 million multi-phase project was funded by California Department of Water Resources, California State Water Board and the USDA Rural Development Program. In addition, numerous Visalia and Tulare Rotary Clubs provided private funds to support connecting homes to the new system. The joint effort also includes support from Self-Help Enterprises, CSET, and the community action agency for Tulare County.
“We’re proud to be part of the team that is helping deliver safe and reliable drinking water to a community that has been struggling due to the drought,” said Chad Fischer, District Engineer for the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “This project shows the commitment of state, local and federal agencies to find solutions that protect public health by delivering drinking water that meets state and federal standards.”
While the drought exacerbated the community's problem, it also provided unique financing opportunities from Federal and State agencies. The County of Tulare, along with Self-Help Enterprises, worked with Monson and the Sultana Community Services District to access available funding to address the water infrastructure needs of these rural communities.
“Historically, communities comprised of individual wells have not been eligible for traditional water system grant programs, but in order to address private domestic well failures, innovative drought funding programs were developed,” said Maria Herrera, Community Development Manager for Self-Help Enterprises.
“We are so happy and grateful that this project is finally completed. It’s been a long wait, but it has finally happened,” shared Lazara Luengas, Monson resident. “Families like my own will no longer have to worry about not having water to cook, shower or clean.”
Work is underway for Phase Two, constructing an additional community well in the neighboring community of Sultana. Following construction of the Sultana well, the two water systems will be inter-connected providing water delivery to not only Monson, but also to over 200 homes in Sultana.
“We are glad that this phase of the project is completed and that Monson now has a reliable source of water,” stated Michael Prado Sr., President of the Sultana Community Services District. “Monson is part of our community and we are glad to operate the new water system.”
Once fully completed, the Sultana Community Services District will own and operate the water system for both Monson and Sultana communities. This mutually beneficial partnership allows the neighboring community of Sultana, who is relying on a single well, to construct a new well and incorporate water members into the system. By combining resources, the new infrastructure will meet current and future needs for both Monson and Sultana residents.