West Goshen is a very small unincorporated community located just east of Visalia in Tulare County. It is home to approximately 500 people, the majority of which are low-income Latinos, and its economy is supported primarily by agriculture and dairies.
West Goshen has not had access to safe drinking water for at least 4 years. There have been ongoing nitrate and bacteria contamination, and “no-drink” orders have been in place since 2013. To make matters worse, West Goshen’s wells began failing in early 2012. The main well 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 to replace the failing well pump and providing temporary bottled drinking water. Within a month of being granted this emergency funding, a 350-foot-section of the backup system’s water pipe collapsed and residents of West Goshen were without any water for several days. Due to well damage, pumps began to suck in sand, which 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.
CWC has been helping West Goshen plan a new well and connect with Visalia’s water service. 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.