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East Porterville Homes Connect to City Water






East Porterville Homes Connect to City Water



Posted on September 7, 2016


After years without running water, East Porterville residents in Tulare County are connecting to a new, permanent, sustainable source of water that is returning their home taps to normal and ending hardships brought on by the drought.

Between the drought years of 2013 and 2016, groundwater levels in the unincorporated area of East Porterville declined significantly. As the drought unfolded, Self-Help Enterprises started receiving calls from East Porterville residents reporting household water shortages. We quickly recognized that this crisis required our immediate attention. However, having no infrastructure in place to respond to such an emergency, our staff leveraged its expertise to mobilize quickly and provide hands-on leadership to identify an interim water tank solution that provides East Porterville residents a limited amount of water for basic sanitation and hygiene needs. This interim solution, implemented by the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services through a partnership with Self-Help Enterprises, Community Services Employment Training (CSET), and United Way, helped keep families in their homes while working on a long-term solution.

As a first step toward a permanent solution, Self-Help Enterprises assisted with conducting a survey which confirmed properties with dry wells and determined eligibility for residents to connect to the City of Porterville municipal water system. This information was key to mapping dry homes as well as forming a strategy for connections near existing water distribution lines.

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

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The first connection was made on August 19 at the home of Guillermina and Leonicio Ramirez. The Ramirez family, including their daughter Tania Ramirez, had lived in their home for more than a decade when their well went dry. Initially, the family hauled water from Terra Bella twice a week – water that was used to take sponge baths, wash dishes, and keep their home clean. Once the interim water tank program became available, the Ramirez family received a 3,000-gallon water tank that provided water for sanitation, hygiene, and cleaning.

“Not having water added stress to our family,” said Tania. “I’m very happy that we can take showers and do things normally like everyone else.”

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The water connection project is a joint effort between the State Water Resources Control Board, the Department of Water Resources (DWR), the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Tulare County, the City of Porterville, and local nonprofit partners. Self-Help Enterprises is contracted by DWR to manage activity for West Valley Construction, who is extending pipes from the city main water lines to the property lines of the homes, and CSET, who will remove existing temporary water tanks and install lead lines to the properties. Concurrently, our staff is active in completing consent forms and obtaining required documentation from residents to connect to the water system.

We are proud to work with all of the partners who have helped bring this permanent solution to the East Porterville community.