DWR Awards $26 Million in Drought Support to Small Communities


Small community drought relief grants funding map for December 2021.

Small community drought relief grants funding map for December 2021.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today announced $26 million in funding commitments to 11 communities through the Small Community Drought Relief program, created by the Budget Act of 2021. Identified for funding by DWR and the State Water Resources Control Board, all 11 communities will receive financial assistance to implement projects that invest in long-term solutions such as providing reliable water supply sources, improving water system storage, replacing aging infrastructure and arranging alternative power sources.

The commitments represent the fifth round of funding in the $200 million Small Community Drought Relief program. Since August, 48 projects have been awarded a total of $92 million.

The latest round of funding will support projects in 10 counties: Fresno, Merced, Lake, Yuba, Marin, Siskiyou, Tuolumne, Mariposa, San Luis Obispo and Kings. Of the awarded projects, four will benefit severely disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.

“California’s water cycle can be unpredictable, and it has become even more so with climate change. It is imperative that we adapt and be proactive in our response,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “As this year draws to a close, we are already planning for the potential of a third dry year. This includes providing support to small and rural communities to address water supply challenges and build local resilience should drought conditions continue.”

Recipients of the $26 million in funding include:

  • Baron Canyon Mutual Water Company: In San Luis Obispo County, the rural community of Baron Canyon Ranch relies on a single well, which is under stress due to the current drought. The state will award $1,986,000 to equip two wells, construct a new storage tank and provide a backup power supply.
  • Kettleman City Community Services District: In Kings County, the Kettleman City Community Services District relies on surface water from the California Aqueduct. Emergency water supplies are being made available to address water supply needs for next year. In addition, the district will receive $2,105,000 to rehabilitate an existing well and to construct a new well to support the community.
  • Stratford Public Utilities District: In Kings County, the community of Stratford currently relies on one well. To strengthen drought resilience, the district will receive $5,710,000 to construct a new well, water storage tank, and replace aging pipelines.
  • City of Dorris: In Siskiyou County, the City of Dorris has been impacted by dwindling groundwater supplies because of the drought. As a proposed solution, the city will receive $3,762,436 to deepen an existing well and replace leaky pipelines.
  • Camptonville Community Services District: In Yuba County, the disadvantaged community of Camptonville currently receives its water supply from the Campbell Gulch and two groundwater wells. Due to dry conditions, the district is reporting extremely low levels of water in the Campbell Gulch and can only draw about 10 gallons per minute. The district will receive $717,065 to construct a new well.
  • Planada Community Services District: In Merced County, the community of Planada is struggling with approximately 13 miles of old pipelines and more than 300 isolation valves that are inoperable, resulting in frequent water main breaks that are causing significant water loss. The district will receive $2,264,625 to replace 1.5 miles of pipelines and the inoperable valves.

DWR coordinated with the State Water Resources Control Board to determine these funding commitments, which complement the board’s historical and ongoing financial assistance to small, economically disadvantaged communities for water infrastructure needs.

The Small Community Drought Relief program currently accepts applications from small communities experiencing hardship due to drought. Funding will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis and interested communities are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

For more information about available drought relief funding, please visit DWR’s Drought Funding webpage.


Allison Armstrong, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources
916-820-7652 | allison.armstrong@water.ca.gov


Blair Robertson, Information Officer, Office of Public Affairs, State Water Resources Control Board