SACRAMENTO, CA – (RealEstateRama) — East Porterville homeowners eligible for a cost-free connection to a new sustainable water supply are urged to attend an informational community meeting on October 5 on the East Porterville Water Supply Project. The meeting will be held from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Granite Hills High School Cafeteria, 1701 East Putnam Avenue, Porterville. Simultaneous interpreter services will be available for Spanish speakers.
Representatives from the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and non-profits Community Water Service (CWC), Self-Help Enterprises (SHE) and Community Services Employment Training (CSET) will explain the project and answer questions about the process property owners must follow to receive water deliveries through City of Porterville distribution lines.
Hundreds of homeowners whose wells went dry during California’s five-year drought are eligible for the project, which is being financed by the State of California to end East Porterville’s drought emergency. By completing a three-step sign-up process, homeowners can avoid a connection cost of at least $10,000.
Property owners must sign a consent form and a contract called an extraterritorial service agreement (ESA), and finally, they must open a utility account with the City of Porterville. From start to finish, the paperwork takes about three weeks; the actual timing to connect to the system will depend on the schedule to lay new distribution lines and complete additional infrastructure. The project’s first connection to an East Porterville home with existing water lines was made on August 19.
December 31 is the project’s target date to deliver water to all Phase 1 property owners, but meeting that date will require completion of the pipeline construction and the owners’ three-step sign-up process.
DWR Phase 1 Project Manager Robert Trang said approximately 300 East Porterville properties are eligible for the Phase 1 this year. “The deadline to complete the ESA is November 7,” he said. “The sooner owners complete this important step, the sooner they can open a utility account and be scheduled for a connection to new water lines that are being laid in East Porterville.”
“We really need more engagement by property owners if the project is to fulfill its potential,” Trang said. He emphasized the urgency with which property owners should join the project. “This is an extraordinary no-cost opportunity for owners to connect to the City of Porterville water system and permanently end their personal water emergency, not only for this drought but for future droughts as well,” he said.
As of September 29, only about half of the first 70 eligible properties in Phase 1A had completed all three steps, and a much lower percentage of the remaining 234 properties in Phase 1 had completed the process.
Steve Doe, DWR’s project manager for 2017’s Phase 2, said up to 700 additional homes are eligible to be connected to new distribution lines during Phase 2.
The East Porterville Water Supply Project is a joint effort by three State agencies – DWR, SWRCB and Cal OES – and the governments of Tulare County and the City of Porterville. Non-profit organizations participating on the project are the CWC, SHE, CSET and the Porterville Area Coordinating Council.
Residents of East Porterville, an unincorporated area in Tulare County, have been relying on deliveries of bottled water and non-potable water trucked in to large temporary water tanks installed on their properties.
This unsustainable enterprise has been funded by the State at a monthly cost of more than $650,000.
DWR and SWRCB are jointly leading the effort to connect East Porterville residents with the City of Porterville’s municipal water supply as a long-term solution to the current drought emergency in East Porterville (see Feasibility Study linked below from the project’s website). SWRCB worked with local organizations and a community group, East Porterville for Water Justice, on a series of meetings to inform the community and get feedback about the project.
Eligible East Porterville residents who participate in the project by agreeing to annex their property to the City of Porterville will bear none of the connection costs, which are estimated to be at least $10,000. Once connected, the residents’ State-funded water deliveries will end, the temporary water tanks will be removed from their property and their water wells will be capped. Property owners will receive a monthly bill for their City of Porterville water service.
The non-profit centers participating in the October 5 community meeting can help owners complete the required documentation to participate in the program and establish a water account with the City of Porterville.
Additional information can be found at DWR’s web page devoted to the project.
To learn about all the actions the State has taken to manage our water system and cope with the impacts of the drought, visit Drought.CA.Gov. Every Californian should take steps to conserve water. Find out how at SaveOurWater.com.
Doug Carlson, Department of Water Resources
(916) 653-5114 doug.carlson (at) water.ca (dot) gov
Maggie Macias, Department of Water Resources
On-Site Mobile Phone (916) 835-2016 (Bilingual)
Elizabeth Scott, Department of Water Resources
On-Site Mobile Phone (916) 712-3904