The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved $1.4 million in loans to the Sativa Water District, which the county took over after the district drew fire for distributing brown water to residents in Compton and Willowbrook.
The money will be used to keep the district operational, including paying for urgent infrastructure repairs.
The county’s action comes on the same day that the UCLA School of Law released a report finding that small county water systems often struggle to provide their customers with clean drinking water at an affordable rate due to groundwater contamination, financial management problems and other issues.
In October, the state Water Resources Control Board dissolved Sativa’s board of directors and appointed the county as interim administrator, saying the former operators had “consistently failed to provide customers … with a reliable and adequate supply of pure, potable water as required by the California Health and Safety Code.”
The Sativa Los Angeles County Water District serves more than 6,800 residents through about 1,300 service connections.
The county’s $1.4 million investment combined with district revenues and $200,000 in state funding will allow the district to operate through June 30, according to an analysis by the Department of Public Works.
The county plans to conduct a financial audit of the district and establish new accounting controls and oversight, among other plans to professionalize the operation.
The board also directed Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai and county legislative advocates to seek more federal and state funding for the water district.