DWR Awards $180 Million to Communities Statewide for Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Projects


An aerial drone view showing low water under the Enterprise Bridge at Lake Oroville with a water elevation of 743 feet on March 17, 2022.

An aerial drone view showing low water under the Enterprise Bridge at Lake Oroville with a water elevation of 743 feet on March 17, 2022.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –The Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced its second phase of funding through the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant program. The program will provide financial assistance to 62 projects throughout the state to tackle drought impacts on human health and safety, protect fish and wildlife resources, and support other public benefits, such as ecosystem improvements.

Of the $180 million in funding, half will support various types of water supply projects including groundwater, surface water, recycled water, and supply reliability. The other half of the awarded funds will finance projects focused on water conservation, groundwater recharge, water quality, and habitat restoration. Included in the awards are five projects benefiting Tribes and 38 projects benefitting underrepresented communities.

“With minimal precipitation and a depleting snowpack, our focus remains on helping our communities respond to ongoing drought conditions,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Infrastructure funding commitments like these grants and improvements to water use efficiency will provide for clean, reliable water supply even during severe droughts. All Californians must do their part by reducing water use to stretch those water supplies. We’re all in this together.”

Highlights of today’s awards include:

  • The City of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, which in 2021 cut their water use by 46.5 percent cumulative as compared to 2020, will receive over $7 million to add 4.5 miles to its distribution network and expand recycled water deliveries to increase water storage at Lake Mendocino and Lake Sonoma.
  • The Tahoe City Public Utility District in Placer County will receive $5 million to construct a new domestic drinking water treatment plant using Lake Tahoe surface water to supply water to an isolated part of its system. The project will start in 2022.
  • The Montague Water Conservation District in Humboldt County will receive $970,000 to line 6,000 feet of the district’s main canal to improve water supply reliability for agriculture, municipal users and enhance instream conditions to benefit salmonids. In exchange for reducing water loss from leaks, the district will permanently allocate the volume of water conserved for instream benefit. The public benefit will result in increased flows for fish and wildlife.
  • The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will receive $2 million to conduct a regional turf replacement program which will provide significant water savings and reduce per capita demand necessary for future water supply reliability.
  • The Cachuma Operation and Maintenance Board in Santa Barbara County will receive $2.2 million to install a new pipeline to allow existing lake infrastructure access to deeper lake levels. The project is expected to start in June 2022.
  • The Santa Margarita Water District in Orange County will receive $4.5 million to construct a groundwater filtration plant and new pipelines to reduce the district’s dependency on imported water supplies. The project, which is already underway, will repurpose the existing recycled water pipelines to deliver potable water.
  • The Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, via the Tuolumne Integrated Regional Water Management Authority in Stanislaus County, will receive $2.5 million to upgrade over 10,000 feet of existing water mainlines to deliver sufficient flow to tribal homes and fire hydrants on the Tuolumne Rancheria. The project will start in April and is expected to be completed in September 2022.
  • The El Toro Water District will receive $617,000 to rehabilitate their potable water reservoir, which is at high risk of failure due to leaks and impaired water quality. The project is set to start this month.
  • Kern County Water Agency’s Improvement District 4 will receive $3.5 million to line an existing earthen canal to reduce seepage and improve water delivery reliability. The project is anticipated to begin in May 2022.
  • The Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency will receive $5 million to construct the second phase of the South-North Intertie Pipeline and a new pump station to connect to water supplies and build drought resilience for many agricultural and municipal customers. The project is expected to start in May 2022.

Since launching the Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant program in October 2021, DWR has received over $1.4 billion in requests for projects. DWR will award a third phase of funding later this spring for approximately $30 million in remaining funds targeted to underrepresented communities and Tribes.

The Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief program is just one of the many ways DWR is addressing drought impacts. Earlier this month, the Department announced nearly $50 million in funding through its Small Community Drought Relief program. View a full list of all drought relief projects funded by DWR to date. 

For information about other DWR and State drought response efforts and funding programs, visit: drought.ca.gov/.


Allison Armstrong, Information Officer, Public Affairs, Department of Water Resources

916-820-7652 | Allison.Armstrong@water.ca.gov