On Wednesday, July 29th, residents from seven northern Tulare County communities met to participate in a summit regarding their region’s collective water future. These small, unincorporated communities have struggled to provide safe drinking water to their residents, because the region’s groundwater is contaminated with high levels of nitrates and the pesticide DBCP.
In late 2013, the communities of Cutler, East Orosi, Monson, Orosi, Seville, Sultana, and Yettem received state funding to begin planning the Northern Tulare County Regional Water Project, in partnership with the Alta Irrigation District. These seven small communities have joined forces to build the economies of scale necessary to reliably and affordably provide safe water into the foreseeable future and through the next drought.
The development of a regional drinking water project would be an innovative solution that could ensure long-term water quality for over 17,000 residents. To date, a project engineering report has been completed, and a regional governance study is currently underway to assess how best to build long-term, multi-community capacity and collaboration to manage the regional water project. The upcoming summit is an opportunity for residents to learn more, voice their concerns, and help shape their drinking water future.
Community outreach meetings held in the seven communities have attracted over 175 people who want to learn more about the regional project and how they can be involved in the 18-month Governance Study. At the meetings, community residents were joined by representatives of the State Water Resources Control Board, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Alta Irrigation District, and the Sultana, Orosi, East Orosi, and Cutler Water Boards. Momentum is growing for a lasting solution to the region’s drinking water challenges.
For more information about how to get involved in the working group or the larger governance study, contact CWC's Ryan Jensen at 559-733-0219.