Water improvements coming to Calimesa area

April 2, 2024
Water improvements are coming to disadvantaged communities around Calimesa following the implementation of a $10.2 million grant.

San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (SGPWA) supports South Mesa Water Company (SMWC) as the small water agency implements a $10.2 million grant from the State Water Resource Control Board.

The SGPWA Board of Directors approved a plan at its March 4, 2024 meeting to bridge a funding gap that brings infrastructure improvements to the cities of Calimesa and Yucaipa. The new plan serves the area with imported water for the first time.

SMWC will replace approximately 50,229 linear feet of water distribution pipelines and accessories through a Proposition 68 grant and the SGPWA’s gap funding assistance. According to a press release the accessories, consisting of valves, vents and manhole covers, are considered to be undersized and have exceeded their useful life.

Gap funding allows for small water systems to utilize state funding when they lack the financial reserves to take on the up-front costs of accepting a grant. There can be a delay of up to six months between paying a contractor and receiving a reimbursement from the grant provider.

The press release states that SMWC’s service area has “been identified as a severely disadvantaged community with a median household income of $34,299, and the pipelines are crucial to ensuring dependable water service for local homes and businesses.”

A joint effort between the SGPWA, SMWC and the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD), called the County Line Road Project, is a collaborative project that will facilitate movement of State Water Project (SWP) water to a future recharge facility on 4th Street. There the SMWC’s service area will access imported water for the first time.

The press release states that the County Line Road Project will enable the recharge of up to 1,500 acre-feet of water in the Calimesa area for the Yucaipa Sustainable Groundwater Management Agency. This is enough water to serve 4,500 households, or about 18,000 people, a year, according to the release.

SGPWA is considering extending assistance through gap funding to multiple water retailers in the region including Banning Heights Mutual Water Company and High Valleys Water District.

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