Drought Relief

Department of Water Resources Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief Program for Disadvantaged and Tribal Communities

The Department of Water Resources Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Program is designed to address immediate and pressing drought impacts through implementation of projects with multiple benefits for communities, including Tribes, facing the loss or contamination of their water supplies due to the drought; and to address immediate drought impacts on human health and safety, and to protect fish and wildlife resources plus other public benefits, such as ecosystem improvements.

Sierra Institute is the grantee of the Disadvantaged Communities and Tribal Involvement Set Aside for the Urban and Multi Benefit Drought Relief program for both the Mountain Counties Funding Area and the Sacramento River Funding Area. Under the program, each Funding Area was eligible for a 5 Million DAC set aside and together they elected to equally allocate the funds between Integrated Regional Water Management groups within their funding areas. This builds on a model Sierra Institute developed with the Mountain Counties IRWM Regions in 2016 for Prop 1 Funding.

Rather than allocate resources based on population, the MCFA IRWM regions recognized the shortfalls of population based funding models for water resources management and agreed to split funds equally rather than by population. This model was developed with the recognition that the resources of rural forested ecosystems have huge impact statewide, and that underfunding upper watersheds just because of lower population leaves vast regions without sufficient resources for water resources management.

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Our DWR Drought Relief Projects

Mountain Counties Funding Area

Campbell Gulch Diversion Reconstruction (Yuba IRWM)

The Camptonville Community Services District is conducting a project that will significantly increase water supply reliability for the disadvantaged community of Camptonville through reconstruction of a failing diversion structure. The diversion structure is a critical component of Camptonville Community Services District's (CCSD) water supply system. This project includes completing design, environmental permitting, and construction of a new diversion structure and associated piping. The new structure will alleviate supply concerns during a severe drought through increasing water system capacity and reliability.

Community Drought Resiliency – Phase-2: Plan, Design, and Implementation of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) System and Telemetry Communications Upgrades for Critical Public Water Systems within the Southern Sierra Nevada (Southern Sierra IRWM)

The Sierra Resource Conservation District in Fresno County is upgrading five critical community and public groundwater-based water systems that have been impacted by severe drought and impacts from the Creek Fire of 2020:

  1. Alder Springs Community of approximately 25 domestic connections
  2. Pine Ridge Elementary School
  3. Sierra High/Junior High School
  4. Big Creek Elementary School
  5. Auberry Elementary School

This includes the planning, design, and implementation of System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Systems and Telemetry Communications capabilities, allowing for remote monitoring and controlling of the water system.

Lake Camanche Water Service Replacement - Phase IV (Mokelumne/Amador/Calaveras IRWM)

The Amador Water Agency is currently replacing and upgrading the Lake Camanche water systems’ polyethylene water service laterals, the pipes that provide water from the water main in the street to a home or business. The existing laterals are currently experiencing high water loss and failure rate and replacing them will save an estimated 314,814 gallons of water per year. Replacement material will be selected for durability and longevity, and the upgrade will include eliminating the existing mutual-use manifold service connections and installing one lateral per parcel, which will improve domestic and private fire suppression flows to each home in order to meet the California State Fire Marshal's Sprinkler Requirements for new homes built after 2011. They have already completed Phases I through III during which approximately 540 service connections were replaced. This project, Phase IV, will replace approximately 50 laterals, about 14 percent of the remaining 353 poly-tube service laterals within the Lake Camanche system.

Palermo Clean Water Consolidation Project (North Sac Valley IRWM)

The Butte County Department of Water Resource and Conservation is connecting 380 parcels in the Palermo community to the South Feather Water and Power Agency’s treated water system. The Project will include the installation of approximately 40,000 linear feet of distribution pipelines, 380 water service lines with meters/meter boxes, additional fire hydrants and valves, and a service line connection from the property to the meter box. The project will mitigate groundwater contamination from septic sewers; provide Palermo customers with a safe, reliable water supply that meets the California Safe Drinking Water Act requirements; and increase drought resiliency.

Stockton Creek Preserve Phase II (Yosemite Mariposa IRWM)

The Sierra Foothill Conservancy has secured a letter of intent to purchase approximately 40 acres from a willing seller/developer strategically located adjacent to the existing 722-acre Stockton Creek Preserve. The existing Preserve is owned and operated by the Mariposa Public Utility District (MPUD) for the purpose of watershed protection; including the protection of the Stockton Creek Reservoir (the primary water source for the town of Mariposa), Stockton Creek and its headwaters and tributaries as well as the management of this watershed land for the benefit of water quality and water storage via forest health improvement, control of invasive species and restoration of native species. Additionally, the Preserve is managed to provide recreation and education via free public access of the Preserve for hiking, walking and biking.

Tuolumne Stanislaus DAC Drinking Water Reliability Project (Tuolumne-Stanislaus IRWM)

The Tuolumne-Stanislaus Integrated Regional Water Management Authority is proceeding with two separate programs to address drinking water reliability for disadvantaged communities in the Tuolumne Stanislaus IRWM region (TStan) and to specifically address the human right to water for the homeless within the region. The first of these projects is the creation of water bottle filling stations that could be utilized by the homeless. Providing access to safe, clean water through filling stations at trusted locations would benefit people experiencing homelessness and directly address the human right to water in our region. The second project is a water quality testing program for private well users. The TStan would develop a program that could provide testing to private well users at low or no cost or an outreach program that could provide users with information on testing services.

Water Infrastructure for Miwok-Maidu Cultural Resilience (Cosumnes, American, Bear, Yuba (CABY) IRWM)

The Sierra Fund is leading a project to install a groundwater well, solar water pump, solar panels, back-up battery, and other necessary infrastructure to convey water to a 2,500 gallon storage tank that will provide water access to Todd's Valley Miwok-Maidu Cultural Foundation (TVMMCF) and affiliated Tribal members. The project includes site identification, geological engineering, permitting for relocating a historic building onto the property, building a traditional roundhouse on an existing foundation, drilling and installation of a well, solar pump, and water storage tank. The outcome will be access to water and power allowing TVMMCF to implement culturally informed ecosystem restoration activities at the site, including fuels reduction, prescribed fire (cultural burns), native plant management, and education.

Sacramento River Funding Area

City of Orland Domestic Well and Ground Storage Tank (North Sac Valley IRWM)

The City of Orland is constructing a replacement drinking water well and adding a storage tank. The replacement well will replenish capacity lost from the Division of Drinking Water's order to discontinue the supply of a domestic well that detected E. Coli Coliform contamination. The storage tank will meet the California Water Works Standards for needed storage volume and meet the current California Building Code for structural design standards.

Dunnigan Area Groundwater Recharge Demonstration and Pilot Project (Westside IRWM)

The Dunnigan Water District is leading a project to build drought resiliency for the disadvantaged community of Dunnigan through groundwater recharge. Groundwater levels continue to decline, threatening water supply for both agricultural and domestic users and causing land subsidence that is damaging nearby infrastructure, including the Tehama-Colusa Canal (TCC) and Interstate 5. This Project seeks to augment the amount of recharged water over the next years, and demonstrate that groundwater recharge is a viable tool to alleviate critical drought conditions. Additionally, this Project aims to provide habitat for migratory waterfowl supporting the region’s objective to implement multi-benefit projects.

Mossbrae Springs Emergency Chlorination (Upper Sacramento-McCloud IRWM)

The City of Dunsmuir's water collection, storage, and distribution systems has been severely impacted by multiple stressors, including drought, deteriorating infrastructure, and contamination. The City is currently in the process of overhauling the most significant components of their water system. The project consists of constructing emergency chlorination facilities, including an 8-foot by 6-foot chlorination building, packaged chlorine metering pump station, chlorine-injection vault, cloud-based supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, controls, and electrical complete. The SCADA and control system will incorporate controls for the new chemical metering system, existing Lookout Booster Pump Station, and monitoring tank level of the existing North Dunsmuir Reservoir. Implementing this project will significantly increase the reliability of Dunsmuir's water supply system and help to build drought resiliency.

Water System Controls & Meter Installation to Improve Supply Reliability (Yuba IRWM)

Linda County Water District is upgrading their water system to address water supply reliability and water loss issues within the Linda County Water District service area, which is entirely within a severely disadvantaged community. The project includes two components: 1) installing Programmable Logic Controllers at four well sites and 2) improving metering throughout the district. The goal of these two components is to provide operational flexibility to improve system reliability, reduce water losses, increase conservation, and improve accuracy of water loss tracking. The project will enable continued use of up to 2,855 acre-feet per year (AFY) of local groundwater to supply the District’s service area.

Well No. 1 Improvements (Upper Pit River IRWM)

The Fall River Valley Community Services District is updating their primary water supply source--Well No. 1--by replacing the 44-year old well pump, motor, discharge piping, and electrical infrastructure, and adding a variable frequency drive (VFD), HVAC improvements, and emergency standby generator. The well is located north-east of McArthur in the Upper Pit IRWM region.