Stakeholders from all four Tulare Lake Basin counties reconvened on October 26th to discuss next steps and priorities for the implementation of the Tulare Lake Basin (TLB) Disadvantaged Community (DAC) water study. The TLB study stakeholders group, which emerged from the study's former Stakeholder Oversight Advisory Committee (SOAC), is collaborating to accelerate sustainable community water solutions in the region. At the October meeting, stakeholders discussed local case studies showing progress toward community water solutions, as well as opportunities to target funding to implement the study recommendations in the Tulare Lake Basin.
The meeting included residents from Kings, Kern, Fresno, and Tulare Counties, as well as representatives from the USDA, the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources, and several elected officials. This stakeholder group is following up on the recommendations from the TLB DAC water study, which was released in August 2014. The initial study was funded by the California Department of Water Resources, which awarded $2 million to the County of Tulare in 2011 to develop a plan for regional water and wastewater solutions for disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin, including areas in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties. The final report included 59 specific recommendations addressing planning, infrastructure, and other management actions for achieving sustainable community water solutions.
At the October meeting, Laurel Firestone updated stakeholders on new developments since the completion of the TLB DAC water study, including the transition of the state Division of Drinking Water to the State Water Board, the passage of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and Proposition 1, and the new resources available for water system consolidations.
The revived stakeholder committee serves as an informal, ad-hoc group to discuss priorities, next steps, and opportunities for the implementation of the study’s recommendations. By bringing together key stakeholders, the group will promote collaboration, information sharing, and implementation of best practices throughout the Tulare Lake Basin. The next meeting will be held in January. Contact CWC if you are interested in joining the stakeholder committee.
Background on the Tulare Lake Basin DAC Water Study
CWC led the coordination and facilitation of a diverse stakeholder group of local community and state agencies to guide the four Tulare Lake Basin Counties (Kern, Tulare, Kings and Fresno) in development of a regional plan for disadvantaged community (DACs) drinking water and wastewater needs. The project goals were to provide solutions that DACs can implement to provide safe, clean, and affordable potable water supplies, and effective and affordable wastewater treatment and disposal. The solutions also address long-term sustainability for operation, management, and financing these services. For more information on the Study, click Here.
Funded by a $2 million grant from the California Department of Water Resources to Tulare County, this plan will ultimately be integrated into the various regional water management plans in the region. It will also be used to inform the County General Plan and funding application efforts.
The project has created a comprehensive database of more than 500 unincorporated communities reaching over 700 stakeholders in the four-county region, and identified their water and wastewater needs. Nearly 200 of these communities lack any type of centralized or regulated drinking water system. The project used the priorities identified by the stakeholder group to develop pilot studies that guided the development of a comprehensive plan for the region. The final plan is now complete and will be available publicly in September 2014, along with the database of unincorporated communities. The three-year study provides concrete recommendations to ensure safe drinking water and effective wastewater treatment for disadvantaged communities. CWC will work to foster implementation of the Study recommendations at all levels, local, regional and state.
The final report documents can be found here: http://tularecounty.ca.gov/cao/index.cfm/tulare-lake-basin-disadvantaged-community-water-study/final-report/