With the recent record rain and snowfall totals across the state, it takes a bit more imagination to focus on California’s growing need for increased water infrastructure.

To this end, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has announced grant awards to nine projects in six counties through the Urban Community Drought Relief Grant program. 

The $46 million in financial assistance will provide critical support to implement drought relief projects that build long-term drought and climate resilience in communities across the state, and help advance efforts outlined in Governor Newsom’s strategy to adapt California’s water supply for a hotter and drier future.

While recent storms have improved conditions and helped fill many of the state’s reservoirs to average or above average levels, California may see a return to dry conditions in the months ahead, and much of the state continues to experience drought impacts following the three driest years on record.

“California is facing the real-time impacts of a changing climate, as evidenced by our state’s historic drought and recent flood emergency. Preparing for a future impacted by climate change not only means supporting new water supply efforts, but also strategies that capture excess flows during extreme wet events,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Today’s funding – with more than half invested in underrepresented communities – will help strengthen water supply reliability across the state by supporting recycled water and groundwater recharge infrastructure while promoting wise water use.”

  •  In Ventura County, the Calleguas Municipal Water District received $4 million to construct a pipeline connection between the City of Ventura and the District’s water distribution systems. The interconnection will provide valuable infrastructure for improving water supply reliability by facilitating projects for potential future aquifer storage and recovery in the Oxnard Plain and Santa Paula Basins.
  •  In Riverside County, the Coachella Valley Water District received $5 million to support a regional yard transformation program that will provide lawn replacement rebates throughout the Coachella Valley for residential, multifamily commercial and municipal sites, as well as a direct installation of desert-friendly landscaping to replace lawns in the City of Indian Wells.

With a shifting climate making swings between drought and flood more extreme, California must continue to implement new programs to manage water in our new climate reality. 4

By Ray Baca, Executive Director Email: [email protected]