Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

Gov. Jerry Brown's drought plan to help Valley towns

By Rick Montanez

ABC 30 – KFSN-TV Fresno, CA

(02/19/2014) FRESNO, Calif. — Communities around the Valley are facing ongoing water problems like contamination, on top of drought issues. Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed drought relief legislation promises to help with those issues.

The tiny Tulare County community of Sultana only has two wells. One serves as a main well, the other as a back-up. The water the back-up pulls from the ground is contaminated, however.

“We use it in case our primary goes down. But we also have to send notices out to people, before they can use the water,” Michael Prado, local water board president, said.

Prado and Tom Voss are both on the local water board. They say this town has had water problems for years. Well levels are now dropping because of the drought and any outside help they can get to pay for a new well is very welcome.

“We need it in this area, there’s a lot of people that it serves,” Voss said. “If we can get the money, it’d be good for us.”

Gov. Brown, Senate President Pro-tem Darrel Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez announced a joint bill to spend $687 million on drought relief. $14 million of that is directed at communities with ongoing water issues, made worse by the drought, like Sultana.

“This is a time to pull together as Californians first to rise above a lot of divisions that pull us apart cause we don’t know how long this thing is going to last,” Brown said.

The democrat-backed measure would also fund housing for unemployed farm workers, recycled water programs, and water conservation awareness campaigns.

As the political trio announced its plan in Sacramento on Wednesday, Republican leaders fired back saying the legislation is lacking long-term solutions.

Back in Sultana, feed store owner and rancher Isaac Orduno says the drought is ruining him financially. He says democrats and republicans are right in both arguments. “We actually need both,” Orduno said. “I know long-term would actually be a better idea, but we need help now.”

For now, water users will just have to hope they don’t need this contaminated back-up well.

Most of the funding for the governor’s plan will come from voter-approved bonds, and some from the general fund.

Like us to spread the word

Related News & Resources

$56 Million Package for 2016-17 Budget to Advance the Human Right to Water

Over one million Californians are impacted by unsafe water each year, and almost 13,000 Californians have completely run out of water during this drought. Over the last two years, the...

Tulare County couple face summer without water as well runs dry

By Mark GrossiFresno Bee (05/04/2014) PORTERVILLE — Outside her front door, Carmen Almanza has a postcard view of the Sierra Nevada and a huge pot of water for drinking, washing dishes...

A Central Valley Farming Town Copes with Toxic Tap Water

  By Alissa FigueroaFusion – America with Jorge Ramos (12/09/13) Berta Diaz doesn’t drink or cook with the water that comes out of her tap. That’s because she received...

EPA head laments lack of clean water in San Joaquin Valley

  On November 20, 2013, members of the AGUA coalition and CWC allies hosted an environmental justice tour in Orange Center for the head of the US EPA. By Tony...

Join us at AGUA's 10 year celebration

Join the AGUA Coalition as they celebrate their 10th year of advocacy and organizing to secure safe, clean and affordable water for all Californians! This celebration will be the final...

California's Lingering Drought and Pollution Defy Solutions

  Less snowmelt from Sierra Nevada leads to more pumping of Central Valley’s contaminated groundwater. By Jeremy MillerCircle of Blue (01/2014) FRESNO COUNTY, CA — In the early morning...

EPA head laments lack of clean water in San Joaquin Valley

  On November 20, 2013, members of the AGUA coalition and CWC allies hosted an environmental justice tour in Orange Center for the head of the US EPA. By Tony...

For Some People in the U.S., Every Day is a Day without Water

By Nancy Stoner September 14, 2016 Original story: Water is something that we easily take for granted. We wake up in the morning, stumble into the shower, brush our teeth,...

Sequía espolea a vecinos a organizarse para conseguir agua

Rubén Tapia agosto 26, 2016   Se escucha ladrido de perros… Es un caluroso domingo en este seco valle agrícola y Erasto Terán, uno de los promotores del Centro...

Running Water Arrives In Drought-Addled East Porterville

By Kerry Klein August 19th, 2016 Original story: Four years into the drought, an estimated 1,500 wells have run dry in Tulare County. Now, thanks to a state-funded project, relief...

Safe, reliable water started flowing to the first home in East Porterville today!

After over three years since the first homes started running out of water, East Porterville residents are now being connected to the City of Porterville’s water system.  This project came...

More News