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East Porterville Homes Connected to Water System; Pipes Deliver Relief to Residents in Drought’s "Ground Zero"

The first flow of water from Porterville’s water system to an East Porterville home was celebrated on August 19. Leonicio Ramirez draws water from outside tap while daughter Tania waits her turn.

August 19, 2016

Dozens of East Porterville residents in Tulare County, often called “ground zero” of California’s five-year drought, are now being connected to a new sustainable source of water that will dramatically improve their quality of life.

As many as 1,800 homes in East Porterville with either no water or undrinkable contaminated water in their wells are expected to be connected to the City of Porterville’s water system by the end of 2017. Now under way is the project’s Phase 1A, during which up to 70 homes will receive water from City of Porterville distribution lines that were previously laid in East Porterville streets but had not been connected to homes. The first connection was made today.

The East Porterville Water Supply project will have several phases. Approximately 500 homes will be connected to the new distribution system in Phases 1A through 1E. Up to 1,300 additional homes are planned to be connected to new distribution lines during Phase 2 in 2017.

The East Porterville Water Supply Project is a joint effort by three State agencies – the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB), the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) – and the governments of Tulare County and the City of Porterville. Non-profit organizations participating on the project are Community Services Employment Training, the Community Water Center, Self-Help Enterprises and Porterville Area Coordinating Council.

Residents of East Porterville, an unincorporated area in Tulare County, have been relying on deliveries of bottled water and non-potable water delivered to large tanks that are installed temporarily on their property. This unsustainable enterprise has been funded by the State at a monthly cost of more than $650,000.


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