County officials are urging property owners in East Porterville to take advantage of a limited opportunity to connect to the City of Porterville’s water system free of charge. The unprecedented opportunity is being provided by a state agency collaborative to deliver safe and reliable drinking water to these drought stricken homes.
For a limited time, East Porterville property owners are able to connect their homes to the newly expanded City of Porterville water system, at no cost. Eligible property owners who participate in this connection project will bear none of the connection costs, which could easily exceed $10,000 per property. After being connected to the City’s water system, property owners will have a utility account and receive a monthly bill from the City of Porterville for their water service.
Officials urge property owners to act quickly and begin the connection process as soon as possible, and no later than March 1, 2017. Property owners can obtain necessary forms and more information on the process to connect at the following locations:
City Hall – City of Porterville - 291 N. Main Street
Drought Resource Center - 185 S. Leggett Street
The current drought has created hardship across the state, but nowhere have the impacts been more severe than in Tulare County and in the area of East Porterville. Since 2014, many homes whose wells have gone dry have been receiving temporary emergency assistance including water deliveries under an emergency Household Tank Program and/or the emergency bottled water program. However, these emergency programs are only temporary and will no longer be available in areas where a permanent water solution is in place.
Once household connections are available, the County will remove the household water tanks and cease emergency bottled water deliveries, even if property owners have declined to connect through this program.
Be advised that if property owners with dry wells choose to not participate at this time and forgo connections, such properties may be in violation of Health and Safety Code section 17920.3 and subject to enforcement. Furthermore, property owners will incur all costs of bringing their properties up to code, including any costs to connect to a permanent water source. In addition to fines and penalties against property owners, properties without potable water may be ruled unsafe to occupy.
This program is a joint effort by three State agencies – Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board, and California Office of Emergency Services – and the local governments of Tulare County and the City of Porterville. Non-profit organizations participating include Community Water Center, Self-Help Enterprises, Community Services Employment Training (CSET), and the Porterville Area Coordinating Council.