East Porterville Residents Urged To Attend February 22
Informational Meeting on Water Connection Sign Ups
SACRAMENTO – East Porterville homeowners eligible for a cost-free connection to a new sustainable water supply are urged to attend an informational community meeting on February 22 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, 2016.
March 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 owners' three-step sign-up process.
DWR's Project Manager Steve Doe said approximately 300 East Porterville properties are eligible for Phase 1 of the project. "The deadline to complete the ESA for Phase 1 was November 7," he said. As of mid-February, about 270 homes have been connected.
Approximately 800 additional homes are eligible to be connected to new distribution lines during Phase 2. Phase 2 residents have until March 31, 2017 to complete the three step sign-up process. Home connections for Phase 2 are scheduled to begin in June 2017.
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 February 22 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.