Home>Articles>Department of Water Resources Announces $49 Million of Water Infrastructure Projects Across State

Lake Oroville, the second-largest state reservoir in Northern California, experienced low water levels during drought. (Photo: California Department of Water Resources)

Department of Water Resources Announces $49 Million of Water Infrastructure Projects Across State

18 projects from Del Norte County to Ventura County announced

By Evan Symon, March 5, 2022 2:45 am

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced on Friday that $49 million has been allocated for a new round of local assistance to help stave off drought and improve water infrastructure as the third drought year begins to head toward warmer temperatures.

In total, 18 Small Community Drought Relief programs were announced in the sixth round programs. In conjunction with the State Water Resources Control Board, the DWR focused on finding economically disadvantaged communities most in need of water infrastructure help.

The largest recipient, the Yurok tribe in Del Norte County near the Oregon border, is to receive $12.6 million to consolidate neighboring systems, lay down 10 miles of pipelines and get two new pump stations. Other tribes, such as the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians in Sonoma County, and the the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians, Round Valley Indian Tribe, and Yokayo Tribe in Mendocino County, will also get funding for water projects.

Besides native tribes, many water districts in the hard hit Central Valley are to receive funding, as will multiple communities that need to fix leaks in current systems or have to begin hauling in water due to water supplies in the area running out. Some cities, such as Redwood Valley in Mendocino County, are to simply receive funds for new wells.

While the locations for projects are all over California, from Del Norte County in the North, to Ventura County in the South, to communities nearby Nevada, most of the newly allotted programs are located either just north of the Bay Area and Sacramento or in the Central Valley.

“As California’s drought continues, we cannot let our guard down when it comes to preparing vulnerable communities for the dry months ahead,” said DWR Deputy Director of Integrated Watershed Management Kris Tjernell in a Friday statement. “We will continue working with the State Water Board to invest in long-term solutions to bolster drought resilience and help ensure that every Californian has access to safe, clean water.”
DWR Small Community Drought Relief program phase six recipients (Photo: water.ca.gov)

While the drought relief program is largely business as usual for the DWR at this point, 2022 has been forecast as a particularly bad drought year for the state, meaning that water projects, especially those that would ferry water to far-reaching communities and help improve water gathering programs to areas outside of population centers, could bring a political factor with them this year.

“Any area that faces massive water restrictions or is beginning cut into their normal and everyday lives, such as non-watering days for lawns and bans on car washes is going to let their representative hear about it, either for Congress or at the state level in the Assembly or Senate,” said Carlos Rivera, a private water project contractor in Fresno County, to the Globe on Friday. “These DWR funds, $49 million may not sound like a lot but a fraction of that it can be all the world for a town that faces massive water shortages. And areas that need it and don’t get it, well, they can help force the issue with the ballot box if needed.

“California is focusing on housing and homelessness and COVID and crime and all that right now, but for more rural areas, water can be the deciding factor. And we may see that start to influence elections this year if more of these programs don’t spring up.”

The DWR is expected to release more rounds of water infrastructure funding later this year.

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Evan Symon
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6 thoughts on “Department of Water Resources Announces $49 Million of Water Infrastructure Projects Across State

  1. Looking at the location map of these few small projects, it’s clear that these are just band-aid programs to placate primarily Democrat voters until the next election cycle. There is nothing here that increases statewide storage capacity.

  2. Is the Pacific Ocean on that list of constituents that need ” access to safe, clean water.”???
    Because those in charge sure seem to think so, based upon the millions of acre-feet of “safe, clean water” that they drain out of the reservoirs, after we have a “Pineapple Express” rain event….
    $49 million to go dig wells, lay pipes and install pump stations for all these projects sure smacks of doing as little as possible for a PR sound-bite..
    Raymond is 100% on the mark when he says “there is NOTHING here that increases statewide (water) storage capacity”…. this is a band-aid on a gaping wound….

  3. We need more storage. This could also supply hydroelectric power. Reservoirs need cleaned of silt THIS YEAR while they are down, not after years of studies. This would be a fairly efficient way to increase storage.

  4. 49 million! What a joke. Didn’t they spend billions on masks etc.? I guess a little thing like water for millions of people, farmland, and wildlife just doesn’t rate. Clowns.

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