CVWD receives $3.3 million in grants to improve water systems in the Eastern Coachella Valley

By on May 2, 2020
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Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) will use two construction grants totaling about $3.3 million to fund three projects that will bring safe, reliable domestic water and fire protection to two Disadvantaged Communities and one elementary school in the Eastern Coachella Valley.

The water system consolidation grants were awarded April 29 by California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) as part of the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resiliency (SAFER) Drinking Water Program.

“Two of the projects will connect nearly 200 homes that lacked safe drinking water to CVWD’s public system,” said CVWD Board Vice President Cástulo Estrada. “These families are finally going to have access to this critical resource that everyone deserves.”

Though these projects are within CVWD’s service area, state law prohibits the use of rate payer funds to pay for these connections to new customers. CVWD has been aggressively seeking grant funding to assist in this area for more than three years.

“We are making significant progress,” said Estrada, who is also a member of the SAFER Advisory Group that provides the State Water Board with advice and feedback on the SAFER Fund Expenditure Plan and other related policies and analyses. “We’ve identified dozens of small private water systems that are eligible to consolidate with the District’s domestic water system and will continue to seek funding for those projects.”

“Together with partners like the Coachella Valley Water District, we have been leading a concerted effort to address the Eastern Coachella Valley’s severe water disparities,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife. “Last year, we focused our legislative endeavors creating a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to ensure that California dedicated investments towards long-standing water infrastructure needs of underserved areas like ours. I am proud to see our advocacy and hard work result in these state grants that will go a long way in supporting our goal of improving water connectivity and public health for our families and students.”

Construction on these three projects connecting to CVWD’s domestic system is expected to start late this summer:

  • Oasis Gardens Mobile Home Park – This project will connect approximately 160 mobile homes to CVWD’s system. The project will install a 125-foot long pipeline, a backflow device and a fire hydrant to provide fire protection service to the community.
  • Thermal Mutual – Thirty-eight residential properties are linked to a failing 50-year-old well and families experience low water pressure and sand in their plumbing. The project will install approximately 2,000 feet of 8-inch pipeline in the streets.
  • Westside Elementary School – The private, on-site well at this school in Thermal for nearly 500 K-6 students has no redundancy or back-up power.  The project will install an offsite 1,350-foot pipeline for improved water supply reliability and fire flow.

“I am incredibly pleased with the work of Vice President Cástulo Estrada of CVWD and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia and their staff,” said Coachella Valley Unified School District trustee Jesus Gonzalez. “As a direct result of their leadership, our children at Westside Elementary School will be provided a clean and safe source of drinking water. These funds will be used to expand water infrastructure in the East Valley. This is a great example of what is possible with compassionate leadership. I look forward to working with our current School Board and staff on this and many projects in the future.”

To address the needs of Disadvantaged Communities (DAC), CVWD formed the DAC Task Force in 2014. The mission of the task force is to secure access to safe affordable drinking water, wastewater and flood control services in historically disadvantaged Coachella Valley regions through strategic planning, funding procurement, needs assessment, and reporting – all in collaboration with community members and stakeholders.

The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 108,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.