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Matheny Tract Gets Clean Water






Matheny Tract Gets Clean Water



Posted on June 9, 2016


On June 1, a decade-old project wrapped up bringing clean drinking water to the 350+ homes in Matheny Tract, a community just outside the City of Tulare.  It hasn’t been an easy road, nor a straight one.  The Pratt Mutual Water Company, its Board of Directors, the Matheny Tract Committee and the residents of the unincorporated Tulare County community have persevered and their efforts were finally rewarded when Matheny Tract connected to the City of Tulare water system and water valves are opened.

Matheny Tract Resident Reyna Palma opens the water valve to signify bringing clean, reliable drinking water to the community.

Matheny Tract Resident Reyna Palma opens the water valve to signify bringing clean, reliable drinking water to the community.

In 2006, Self-Help Enterprises’ community development program began working with the Pratt Mutual Water Company board of directors and the public works staff of the City of Tulare to assemble a consolidation project. In response to arsenic and nitrate contamination in Pratt’s wells, a State-funded engineering report completed by Provost & Pritchard recommended new wells or a water system consolidation.  With some influence from the State, it was agreed that consolidation with the larger, neighboring water system owned and operated by the City of Tulare was the most sustainable solution.  Funding was sought, and obtained, to build a new water distribution system that would replace the Mutual Water Company’s aging system and install new water meters, so the water system would be in excellent condition when the City took over ownership and operation. Construction of the new distribution system was substantially completed in 2014.

Consolidation seemed simple enough, given the proximity of Matheny Tract to existing City of Tulare infrastructure.  As it turned out, the process was fraught with complications, ranging from charter city and prevailing wage law, to a public debate over a proposed industrial park; from drought and contamination impacts on Tulare’s wells to the implementation of a brand-new law known as SB88.  SB88, passed by the legislature in 2015, gave the State Water Board the authority to order water system consolidations.  In 2016, the State Water Board exercised its new power for the first time, and directed the City of Tulare to accept Matheny Tract as water customers.

The spring of 2016 has passed quickly as the project partners raced to meet the June 1 deadline to have water meters installed, customer accounts established, and other details seen to.  Self-Help Enterprises congratulates project partners Pratt Mutual Water Company, the City of Tulare, the Matheny Tract Committee, Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, the State Water Resources Control Board, Provost and Pritchard, and West Valley Construction on the completion of an extraordinary journey.

The Pratt Mutual Water Company, its Board of Directors, the Matheny Tract Committee, and residents worked together with partners including Self-Help Enterprises and Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability.

The Pratt Mutual Water Company, its Board of Directors, the Matheny Tract Committee, and residents worked together with partners including Self-Help Enterprises and Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability.