Porterville Recorder

Tule River Tribe, LSID receive major water grants

- By CHARLES WHISNAND cwhisnand@portervill­erecorder.com

Two more local agencies have received seven figure grants from the state for much needed water infrastruc­ture projects.

The Tule River Tribe and the Lindsay-strathmore Irrigation District were the latest agencies to receive grants through the State Department of Water Resources Small Community Drought Relief program. Their projects were approved by the State Water Resources Control Board.

The two projects were among the 17 projects that were awarded grants in the seventh round of grants that have been awarded. In the latest round of grants $22 million were awarded for the 17 projects.

The Tule River Tribe was awarded a $2 million grant to repair its existing intake system, replace the pipeline from the intake to the treatment plant and install a storage tank.

The storage tank to be funded by the grant is much needed. The ongoing drought has resulted in a lack of capacity of water and has impacted the Tribe’s ability to store water for all the residents at the Tule River Reservatio­n. Due to the lack of water supply during the summer months, the Tribe has used donated bottled water from different sources over the past years.

Tule River Tribal Council vice chairman Shine Nieto reported recently that what happened in East Portervill­e in 2015 that received national attention happens every year on the Reservatio­n. “We run out of water every year,” he said.

LSID received a $1.7 million grant for a project for the community of Tonyville. The water system serving Tonyville is 60 years old and has numerous leaks. The grant LSID has been awarded will be used to replace 5,500 feet of leaking water system pipelines in Tonyville.

The State Department of Water Resources stated these projects are needed as the state just experience­d ints driest three-month stretch on record heading into the summer. “Climate change has fundamenta­lly altered our state’s water cycle — intensifyi­ng extreme weather and leading to longer, drier periods. As the world continues to warm, we must work together to manage California’s water supply. That work starts with protecting the health and safety of our communitie­s,” said Kris Tjernell, DWR Deputy Director of Integrated Watershed Management.

DWR, in coordinati­on with the State Water Resources Control Board, determined those who received funding in the latest round of grants awarded.

The Small Community Drought Relief program was launched in August 2021 and was included in the 20212022 state project.

The program is designed to help small communitie­s address drought impacts by providing financial or technical assistance. So far the program has awarded more than $160 million to 85 projects.

Governor Gavin Newsom has included additional funding for the program in his proposed 2022-2023 budget.

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