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California Department of Public Health Provides Funding to West Goshen Drinking Water System to Address Drought Impacts

Date: 3/7/2014 

Number: 14-028 

Contact: Anita Gore, Heather Bourbeau (916) 440-7259 


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Drinking Water Program (DWP) today announced that the West Goshen water system, previously identified as being in immediate danger of acute drinking water shortages, is no longer at risk due to emergency funding to build an interconnection with a larger drinking water system and replace a failing well pump. As the ongoing extreme drought conditions continue in the state, CDPH continues to assist drinking water systems at risk of running out of water.  

“CDPH is committed to finding solutions so Californians can have access to safe drinking water during the current drought and beyond,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, department director and state health officer. “This is just one example of a cooperative effort to meet an immediate need in a small community.”

CDPH has provided $250,000 in emergency funding for replacing a failing well pump and temporarily providing bottled water. Additionally, as much as $3 million from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SDWSRF) is being provided to replace the distribution system, install water meters and build an interconnection with the California Water Service Company in Visalia. The SDWSRF is supported in part by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) funding. This consolidation project will solve the drought-related problems as well as address ongoing water quality issues. The interconnection portion of the project is expected to be completed within three months and will eliminate the need for bottled water.

The West Goshen water system, located in Tulare County, provides drinking water to 400 residents. 

“While California continues to face a severe drought, we’re pleased that the drinking water crisis faced by West Goshen is now being resolved,” said Jared Blumenfeld, US EPA regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “The residents will have a safe and reliable supply of drinking water thanks to the federal funds targeted for communities throughout the state by the Department of Public Health.” 

CDPH continues to monitor and evaluate drinking water systems throughout the state to determine systems that may soon be at-risk. The CDPH Drinking Water Program provides technical assistance to at-risk drinking water systems and works with them to identify potential solutions and funding sources. Current information regarding the most vulnerable water systems impacted by the drought is available on the CDPH website. 

With California facing one of the most severe droughts on record, Governor Brown declared a drought State of Emergency and directed state officials to take all necessary actions to prepare for water shortages. The Governor signed legislation toimmediately help communities deal with the devastating dry conditions affecting our state and to provide funding to increase local water supplies after it was passed with bipartisan support in the legislature. 

Governor Brown met with President Obama about crucial federal support during the ongoing drought, and the state continues to work with federal partners to ensure coordinated drought monitoring and response. Governor Brown and the administration have also expressed support for federal legislation introduced by Senators Feinstein and Boxer and Representatives Jim Costa, Tony Cárdenas and Sam Farr.

Across state government, action is being taken. The Department of General Services is leading water conservation efforts at state facilities, and the California State Architect has asked California school districts and Community Colleges to act on the Governor’s call to reduce water usage. The Department of Transportation is cutting water usage along California’s roadways by 50 percent. Caltrans has also launched a public awareness campaign, putting a water conservation message on its more than 700 electronic highway signs.

In January, the state took action to conserve water in numerous Northern California reservoirs to meet minimum needs for operations impacting the environment and the economy, and recently the Department of Water Resources and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced it would seek the authority to make water exchanges to deliver water to those who need it most. The State Water Resources Control Board announced it would work with hydropower generators and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to preserve water in California reservoirs, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the California Fish and Game Commission restricted fishing on some waterways due to low water flows worsened by the drought.

The state is working to protect local communities from the dangers of extreme drought. The California Department of Public Health identified and offered assistance to communities at risk of severe drinking water shortages and is working with other state and local agencies to develop solutions for vulnerable communities. CAL FIRE hired additional firefighters and is continuously adjusting staffing throughout the state to help address the increased fire threat due to drought conditions. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) launched a drought website to help farmers, ranchers and farmworkers find resources and assistance programs that may be available to them during the drought.

Even as the state deals with the immediate impacts of the drought, it’s also planning for the future. In 2013, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency and CDFA released the California Water Action Plan, which will guide state efforts to enhance water supply reliability, restore damaged and destroyed ecosystems and improve the resilience of our infrastructure.

Governor Brown has called on all Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20 percent, and the Save Our Water campaign launched four public service announcements encouraging residents to conserve.

Last December, the Governor formed a Drought Task Force to review expected water allocations and California’s preparedness for water scarcity. In May 2013, Governor Brown issued an Executive Order to direct state water officials to expedite the review and processing of voluntary transfers of water.

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