BREAKING NEWS: California Homeowner Drought-Relief Bill Passes Senate

Photo by: John Walker

Monson resident Maria Jimenez uses bottled water, since the well went dry that served hers and four other homes. The tiny town of Monson has been trying for seven years to get a healthy supply of water. But with eight dry wells in the last year, this Tulare County community would just like to get back to running water. Photo by: John Walker

Finally, A Bill That Helps The California Residents

A bill to let drought-stricken homeowners seek state grants or low-interest loans for water and wastewater projects has passed the state Senate and is in the Assembly.

Assembly Bill 1588, authored by Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia, passed the Senate unanimously Wednesday.

“This is an important measure for the Central Valley and I greatly appreciate the bipartisan support it has received,” Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, said in a statement.

The bill goes back the Assembly, where it passed 76-0 in June, for a concurrence vote following amendments to the bill. If the bill becomes law, it could help homeowners whose wells have gone dry. Current law only provides funding for public water systems and communities, proponents said.

Tulare County Supervisor Mike Ennis said he hopes the bill becomes law because more than 1,600 homes in Tulare County have reported dry wells in the drought. “That would sure help us,” he said.

The bill authorizes up to $15 million for water and wastewater projects for qualifying homeowners based on income and other factors. 

County governments and nonprofit groups would get funds from the State Water Resources Control Board, and homeowners would apply to the local entities. Examples of how money could be used include connecting to a water main, deepening an existing well, improving a well, or installing a water treatment system.

Mathis said Friday in East Porterville that the bill has strong support in the Legislature. “This is everything we need,” he said. “This should sail through.”

This article was originally written by Lewis Griswold and published on August 1, 2016 at The Fresno Bee.

Click here to view it in its entirety.


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