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Still, Snyder said, timing apparently favored West Goshen.

Early on, CDHP awarded a $250,000 emergency grant to the West Goshen system, and then in October it awarded $3 million in federal dollars from the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which provides money to help fix or improve community water systems.

And even though the West Goshen neighborhood was placed on the CDPH's list of the 10 public water systems most at risk for drought caused water shortages, Snyder noted that it recently was taken off the list after state officials determined the water problems here were more the result of geology and aging infrastructure, not the drought.

A UC Davis study released last year showed that about one in 10 people out of 2.6 million in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties, as well as the Salinas Valley, have untreated drinking water with nitrate levels that exceed allowable levels, and many have to pay for bottled water or receive it through emergency funding.

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"I think it had to do more with internal changes at the Department of Public Health," she said, explaining that they stemmed from the CDPH being accused of being too slow in distributing federal dollars Saucony Pink And Tan for projects to improve community drinking water.

It also helped that Cal Water was on board early on to have West Goshen connect to its water system and did much of the planning to connect the two water systems, Snyder said.

In West Goshen, a $50,000 CDPH grant has been paying for monthly deliveries of bottled water to homes. Many here say it's not enough, so they have to buy more water.

Lucy Hernandez, a West Goshen resident and president of the West Goshen Mutual Water Company, which oversees the current well system, said she's happy with the speed at which the state is supplying funding to fix her community's water problems.

But in the world of government funding and approvals, this happened fast said Jessi Snyder, a community development specialist for Self Help Enterprises, a Visalia based nonprofit that helps low income communities improve living conditions.

´╗┐State was quick to provide money to fix West Reebok Green Trainers

"I know that there's a lot of intense focus on Saucony Madewell

right now. There are drought task forces and commission popping up," but Self Help and the West Goshen residents started looking for financial assistance from the state well before the drought got severe enough to elevate the state's response to water issues, Snyder said.

This includes providing advice and technical support to small, rural water systems.

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"We're excited to get the water going," said Gonzales, a nurse who lives in the neighborhood with her husband, four children and her mother.

To make matters worse, sand sucked up because of the well damage ruined the pumps for both wells, and for a time sand filled the 5,000 gallon water storage tank and plugged up the main water lines to homes and flowed out of some taps here.

The problems began after the main well supplying drinking water to this slightly larger than four square block, rural neighborhood collapsed in 2012. A switch to a backup well solved the problem, but only briefly, as it also collapsed a couple of months later.

Surprisingly, the residents raised $3.25 million in grant money in just about a year, and about $1 million of that money will go to lay the pipes that in about a month and a half should provide water to about 350 residents, most of them living in two block sections of avenues 308 and 308 between roads 52 and 48.

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Drilling a new well was a costly and not reliable option for residents here, who have gotten by since then by drawing water from the upper levels of the community's backup well above the collapsed area while residents here worked to raise money to connect their water system to Cal Water's system, which provides drinking water to Visalia and parts of Goshen, east of this West Goshen neighborhood.

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"I know other communities, they've been waiting for a lot of years for long term solutions, so for us to get connected so fast, it's a miracle," said Hernandez, adding that she has been contacted by people from other communities with water problems, including Seville, asking how the West Goshen residents did it.

Certainly, living more than a year with unreliable water and water they couldn't drink because of low levels of nitrates in it a problems that was developing before the wells collapsed seems like a long time for the people who live here.

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Goshen's water problems

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For about the past year and a half, she and her family haven't been able to drink from the taps at their home on Avenue 308, so they've had to depend on bottled water to brush their teeth, cook and drink.

As a result of the federal scrutiny on California's spending on water assistance projects, Snyder said she believes state health officials have been trying to distribute money to help local water systems more quickly, and West Goshen probably benefited from this.

California also was accused of putting more emphasis on using the money to pay for large and medium sized water projects rather than for smaller community projects even those with more dire problems to provide adequate drinking water to residents, according to the Associated Press.

Next year, the rest of the grant money will go to installing new water pipes throughout the affected neighborhoods and to install water meters at each home.

"I've seen a lot of changes on the ground things moving more quickly," she said.

Next week's groundbreaking ceremony for the start of construction to lay a mile and a half water line connecting California Water Service Company water to West Goshen can't come soon enough for Pricilla Gonzalez.

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For example, last year the Environmental Protection Agency accused state health officials of being non compliant by failing to spend in a timely manner $455 million of federal money put into the state's Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

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