California awards $15 million for water supply, stormwater capture projects

Feb. 21, 2023
The state’s Department of Water Resources awarded funding through its Integrated Regional Water Management program to support stormwater capture, groundwater recharge, and water supply reliability.

California’s Department of Water Resources (DWR) awarded $15 million through its Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program to support water supply projects in the San Joaquin Valley.

The awards will provide critical funding support to implement innovative, multi-benefit projects for climate and water supply resilience. This includes using stormwater capture to recharge the state’s critically strained groundwater basins.

“While the recent storms in California helped ease drought impacts in parts of California, many rural areas that rely on groundwater like in Fresno and Kern counties are still experiencing water supply shortages,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Today’s funding will help improve water supply reliability and water quality in these communities while supporting groundwater recharge that reduces flood risk and enhances stormwater management.”

Some of the awarded projects will achieve benefits including:

  • Water Supply Reliability: The City of Bakersfield will partner with the Rainbird Valley Mutual Water Company to provide 1,900 acre-feet per year of clean drinking water to 85 service connections and 238 people in severely disadvantaged communities. The Kings Basin Water Authority and the City of Bakersfield both will use funding to implement projects that increase water supply reliability through well rehabilitation, weir infrastructure improvements and pipeline construction.
  • Stormwater Capture and Groundwater Recharge: The Pixley Irrigation District will construct a new 5.5-mile-long canal to provide surface water for irrigation to approximately 5,500 acres of land that currently rely on groundwater as the only source of water. The project will increase flood protection for downstream infrastructure, crops and more than 1,000 residents of the community of Alpaugh, while also capturing flood water when available for recharge.
    The Kings Basin Water Authority and City of Bakersfield also received funding to increase stormwater storage, improve flood protection and pump surface water into basins in the disadvantaged community of Parlier. Another project will deliver surface water to landowners in the cities of Arvin, Edison and surrounding communities that currently rely on groundwater supplies to meet their agricultural and drinking water demands. The project will reduce groundwater pumping and provide indirect recharge to the underground aquifer.
  • Water Conservation: To help meet the State of California’s requirement to have all customer water service connections metered by 2025, the City of Bakersfield received funding to install 6,500 meters at remaining unmetered service connections in the area.

A full list of projects can be viewed here.

Financed by voter-approved Proposition 1, the IRWM program has awarded more than $1.7 billion throughout California, which has been matched by $5.6 billion in local investments to help implement over 1,300 projects that foster climate resilience by mitigating drought impacts, improving water supply reliability, reducing flood and fire risk, increasing water storage and improving water quality.