Dos Palos receives $11 million in state funding to help with water issues

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Saturday, October 10, 2020
Algae in California Aqueduct causes water challenges in Dos Palos
A high level of algae in the California Aqueduct has caused problems over the past several days in Dos Palos.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The City of Dos Palos is set to receive $11 million in state funding to address water issues that have plagued the community in recent months and previous years.

City leaders say the grant funding will pay for the construction of a new water treatment plant and some improvements to the existing facility, which was built in 1969.

Approximately $6 million will come from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, and $5 million is through Proposition 68, which California voters approved in 2018.

Back in 2013, Dos Palos residents and businesses had to rely on bottled water until the aging filtration system could be replaced using a half-million-dollar grant.

This year, the water supply has been cut off multiple times due in part to high levels of algae in the California Aqueduct clogging equipment. The latest boil water notice was just lifted on Thursday.

City officials say they filed an application for funding in November of 2019 and took part in dozens of meetings with state officials who were reviewing the plan. Congressman Jim Costa and Assemblyman Adam Gray later helped coordinate more meetings to push the review process forward over the summer. Local leaders made another plea on Monday after the latest outages, and they say the money was finally approved.

"This is excellent news because the good part of this is it's grant money so that will not have to be paid back," said Dos Palos City Manager, Darrell Fonseca. "There may be a loan portion in the supplemental portion after this project starts, but right now, it's 100% grant, and that's critical to our low-income people here to not have to bear that burden as we build the new plant."

Dos Palos Mayor April Hogue said residents also need to conserve water.

"Not only are we going to have the first steps to a new plant, but we're also going to have to start taking measures to start cutting back on our water usage so that we'll have enough water for months and years to come," she said.

City leaders say it will likely take at least a year to build the new plant next to the old one, but they have plans for a temporary system to help minimize the impact on residents.

They also plan to conduct a rate study to help determine the best way to fund another five million dollars' worth of work that will need to be done.

Editor's Note: The video above is from a previous broadcast.