Community Water Center

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

West Goshen

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West Goshen is a very small unincorporated community located just east of Visalia in Tulare County. The economy is supported primarily by agriculture and is home to a number of dairies.

Time without safe drinking water: Approximately 2 years

The struggle: West Goshen has had ongoing water issues with nitrate and bacteria contamination, and “no-drink” orders have been in place since 2013 or earlier. To make matters worse, West Goshen’s wells began failing in early 2012. The main well supplying West Goshen with drinking water collapsed in 2012, forcing the West Goshen Water District to switch to a backup well. California’s continuing drought conditions worsened West Goshen’s situation, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) identified West Goshen as being in immediate danger of acute drinking water shortages. CDPH provided $250,000 in emergency funding for replacing the failing well pump and providing temporary bottled drinking water. Within a month of being granted emergency funding, a 350-foot-section of the backup system’s water pipe collapsed and residents of West Goshen were without water for several days. Sand sucked up due to the well damage ruined the pumps for both wells and clogged the main water lines to homes and even flowed out of some taps. Residents were forced to travel to nearby towns to take showers, brush their teeth, cook and drink.

The people impacted: Approximately 500 people, the majority of which are low-income Latinos, reside in West Goshen. The community’s water system serves about 400 people.

The solution: The CDPH funds helped to provide an interim solution to replace the failed water pump and provide bottled drinking water. In March 2014, West Goshen was granted $3 million from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to replace its distribution system, install water meters and build an interconnection with the California Water Service Company (CalWater) in Visalia. The consolidation of water service with Visalia will relieve West Goshen of drought-related problems as well as address some of its ongoing water quality issues. 

The cost: $250,000 (interim solution) + $3 million (consolidation with Visalia) 

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