Sanger looks to tap state reserves, increase city water preservation


City of Sanger requests $4 million allocation from California Department of Water Resources to fund permanent water storage tank

SANGER – To ensure Sanger has a plentiful water supply, the city is trying its hand at getting some additional funding to do away with its outdated water towers and make way for another new and improved water tank.
The city has decided to seize the opportunity for increased water storage in Sanger by applying for a grant through the California Department of Water Resources (DWR). The application was approved by Sanger City Council at its Jan. 19 meeting. According to Sanger city engineer Joshua Rogers, the city is requesting $4 million to fund an additional water tank, tank no. 4, that will be added onto the city’s already established tank no. 3. This is to ensure that during the hottest peak periods of July and August, the city has additional water storage available.
“Obviously, the tanks only do you as good as how much water is being produced,” Rogers said. “But by having more storage, you can make it through some of those peak periods.”
In addition to expanding water capacity, Rogers said the plan is also to decommission the city’s two elevated water towers at Jensen Avenue and Academy Avenue and at Greenwood Avenue and 9th Street. This is due to the water towers being outdated and expensive to maintain. Not only that, but according to the staff report on the matter, the combined water storage for the elevated tanks is 135,000 gallons. This is less than a quarter of storage compared to the recently established tank no. 3, which has 750,000 gallons of water capacity. When it was initially developed, future plan constructions included the integration of tank no. 4, adding another 750,000 gallons of water to the city’s supply.
The construction of tank no. 3 itself is estimated at about $3.5 million, so if the allocation is granted, Rogers said the city will also purchase portable, temporary water tanks. He said these would be planted around the city as needed and could be used to supplement buildings like existing businesses or multifamily housing units.
According to a city staff report, Sanger has already been actively working on making improvements to its overall water system. Rogers said the city has recently undergone some well projects to rehabilitate wells that were facing mechanical or electrical failures, as well as establish new wells to ensure a good level of water storage. In the past, the wells have presented some issues with water pressure, and although these issues were improved last year, Rogers said the city would like to stay prepared.
“We’re continuing to develop projects to build redundancy into the water system and just get it to where we’ve got plenty of water and aren’t scraping by during some of the peak periods,” Rogers said.
According to Rogers, DWR is expected to announce their grant allocations through the month of March. If the city is successful in receiving the grant, he said they should know in about three to four months. If the city is not able to receive the funding, Rogers said there are other pots of money to look into. With other grants, development impact fees and water funds available, he said there are other methods of funding the permanent water tank. However, the causality from that outcome means the process would be delayed, as the city already has other projects underway and it would take a while to get funding for the tank together.
The city was able to apply for this DWR grant through the department’s 2022 Urban Community Drought Relief Program. According to DWR, the program is part of DWR drought relief programs established in response to current drought conditions. It seeks to address drought impacts on local communities with the state through monetary support. Eligible applicants for most of these programs include public agencies, public utilities, special districts, colleges and universities, mutual water companies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized California Native American tribes.
Last year, an amendment to the Budget Act of 2021 granted DWR an additional $545 million to allocate in grants to assist in a second cycle of drought relief. Applications for the grant are accepted up until Jan. 31. According to the city’s staff report on the matter, the grants are intended to: provide water to communities that face the loss or contamination of their water supplies, to address immediate impacts on human health and safety, to secure the future of California’s water supply and to protect fish and wildlife resources.