Sen. Melissa Hurtado
Written by The Business Journal Staff
State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) announced a $15 million one-time investment from the state’s general fund to address failing water delivery systems in the Central Valley’s most vulnerable communities.
“Access to clean drinking water is one of the main reasons why I chose to run for office,” Hurtado said in a statement. “One million-plus people don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water and this issue disproportionately affects my community, often keeping me up at night.’
In August of last year, the town of Stratford in Kings County had both of its wells fail, leaving families and children without potable water.
The Stratford Public Utility District handed out free bottled water outside of its offices until the wells were fixed, but residents still lacked access to water for bathing and toilets, and schools had to install portable restrooms for students.
The secured $15 million dollar investment includes:
— $2.5 million for the placement and filling of temporary water tanks for households in communities including Porterville and Stratford, and others that have lost their water supply due to dry wells.
— $3 million for Sanger to repair a water tank and a well
— $1 million to connect a new source to Sanger’s centralized water system
— $2.5 million for a new water and tertiary treatment plan for Tulare County
— $1 million to make repairs to water systems in the counties of Fresno and Tulare to improve access to water in cities like Orosi and Del Rey.
— $1.5 million for the Selma Storm Drain Project, Selma Rockwell Pond Groundwater Recharge Project, and the Selma Branch Canal Multi-Use Trail
— $1 million to replace Water Well 21 in Dinuba
— $2.5 million to bring communities into compliance with safe drinking water standards and remove arsenic from water in communities like Alpaugh in Tulare County and Arvin in Kern County.
These proposals are included in this year’s budget bill, AB 74, which currently sits on the governor’s desk.
“This is a significant win for families throughout the southern Central Valley; however, we could not have accomplished this alone,” Hurtado said. “The leadership from Governor Gavin Newsom to Senate Leader Toni Atkins have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to uplift underrepresented communities. Moreover, local community leaders and activists dedicated countless of hours to elevating the issues to a state and federal level. It truly was an all-encompassing effort recognizing that an economy that leaves an entire region behind, isn’t a sustainable economy and it starts with our most basic human needs – access to clean drinking water.”