In February 2023, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) launched the Go Golden Initiative to highlight partnerships between the State and local organizations and water agencies to fund bold and innovative projects that strengthen California’s water infrastructure and build community resilience. Over the past year, Go Golden has highlighted more than $196 million in grant funding awarded to 22 local water providers through multiple grant programs to water resilience projects throughout the state.
"As the wild weather of 2023 showed us, climate change is making California’s weather patterns more dramatic and unpredictable, with wide variations across the state,” said DWR Deputy Director of Communications Margaret Mohr. “It is critical for us at the state level to partner with local water managers and support them as they build and maintain reliable and resilient water systems for local communities. In 2023, DWR prioritized partnerships with local water agencies who know their communities best. We’re taking climate challenges head on – working together to provide direct positive impacts to Californians across the state.”
High-Impact Projects for California Communities Through State & Local Partnerships
Here are just a few of the projects highlighted by the Go Golden Initiative in 2023:
- $38 million grant to Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for turf replacement rebates for businesses that will result in the removal of about 218 million square feet of grass, saving enough water to serve about 68,000 households annually. The grant also covers no-cost, direct installation of high-efficiency fixtures for 5,000 low-income households and water recirculating units for firefighter training that will save 3.9 million gallons of water each year.
- $11.8 million to Rancho California Water Agency for their CropSWAP program, which pays agricultural water users to switch to lower-water-use crops, and for a groundwater storage project, resulting in 60,000 acre-feet of new storage capacity, enough to service the entire territory for a full year. Using the CropSWAP program, which converts 160 acres of crops to water-wise options, users can save 9,000 acre-feet of water per year.
- $12.2 million grant to Stockton East Water District for conveyance improvements that will double the amount of local groundwater recharge per year, improving water delivery for over 322,000 residents in the Stockton area. The project will also restore fish habitats along the Calaveras River for threatened Central Valley Steelhead and Chinook Salmon.
- $15 million grant to Kings Basin Water Authority, City of Bakersfield, and Pixley Irrigation District for groundwater recharge, stormwater capture, and water conservation. These projects will provide 1,900 acre-feet of clean drinking water per year to 238 people in disadvantaged communities and will increase flood protection for more than 1,000 residents.
- $16 million grant to Zone 7 Water Agency for a PFAS removal facility, which removes synthetic “forever” chemicals, known as PFAS, from the local groundwater supply using new, highly effective ion-exchange (IX) technology. The new facility pumps 4,600 gallons of safe, treated water per minute, increasing local drinking water supplies by 16 percent.
For more examples of Go Golden projects, visit DWR’s YouTube channel.
What Go Golden Partners Are Saying
“...this innovative Go Golden partnership between our local Zone 7 Water Agency and the Department of Water Resources is a huge step forward towards securing a sustainable and clean water supply for our community, ensuring a brighter future for all Alameda County residents.” – Supervisor Nate Miley, Alameda County
“With the help of DWR and its IRWM program, the City of Bakersfield and its partner agencies are one step closer to achieving sustainability by becoming self-reliant and improving water supply reliability within the region” - City of Bakersfield Assistant Water Resources Director Daniel Maldonado
“The state’s foresight and support will enable us all to become more resilient as we face climate whiplash and a future of hotter and drier droughts. These are part of a holistic and inclusive water management approach, diverse projects and courageous actions we must take…” - Metropolitan Water District GM Adel Hagekhalil
“This project underscores the State of California’s commitment to supporting innovative solutions that enhance water quality and supply reliability. I am grateful that the state and our local water agency have partnered to improve environmental stewardship and the well-being of our communities.” – Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Assembly District 16
The Go Golden Initiative is a testament to the importance of collaboration in improving California’s water landscape. DWR is committed to fostering partnerships, uplifting innovative water solutions, and moving our state toward a sustainable water future for all. As we celebrate the successes of 2023, we are looking forward to forging new relationships with local water providers across the state to ensure all Californians have access to a safe and reliable water supply, now and in the future. For more information about current grant funding opportunities, visit DWR’s Grants and Loans webpage.