Award or Recognition

GEI’s Satya Gala Recognized for Leadership on East Porterville Water Supply Project

May 20, 2017

Senior Project Manager Satya Gala, Ph.D., P.E., was recently recognized as a Water Justice Leader by the Community Water Center for his leadership on the East Porterville Water Supply Project.

East Porterville Water Supply Project is leaving a significant impact on the residents of East Porterville area, an unincorporated community in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  Dr. Gala received this recognition for his contribution and leadership as the Project Manager in implementing this critical Project that is addressing the drought and contaminated water problem in East Porterville by providing reliable and safe source of water for the residents of East Porterville area.

Dr. Gala, based out of GEI’s Sacramento, CA office, is a senior water resources engineer with more than 16 years of experience in hydrology, hydraulics, flood management implementation, integrated flood and water supply planning, and project management. His expertise includes a deep understanding of the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems. He has also been working closely with the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) on the Basin-wide Feasibility Studies as part of the Central Valley Flood Protection Plan.

Dr. Gala’s work on the project addresses a problem that has been plaguing California as well as other regions in the country – drought. Due to extended periods of drought in California, many wells in the East Porterville area have dried up, and most of the remaining water is unsafe to use.

The State of California considers East Porterville area as an economically disadvantaged community. To alleviate the problem, the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services, in coordination with and funded by the California Office of Emergency Services, implemented an individual household tank program which provides pressurized water tanks to qualified residences. In addition to these tanks, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has been providing bottled water to affected residents.

These programs provided temporary relief to the drought-stricken East Porterville area, but at great cost. Due to their high expense, these programs can only serve as an interim solution and are not sustainable. The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and SWRCB decided to take a long-term step to address the current drought emergency and provide long-term drought resiliency for East Porterville area. The East Porterville Water Supply Project is a multi-year effort funded in part by DWR and the SWRCB in coordination with several agencies, including the California Office of Emergency Services, Tulare County, and the City of Porterville, with participation by four non-profit organizations.

The East Porterville Water Supply Project will eliminate the need for emergency water deliveries to homeowners with dry or contaminated wells, by providing new water supply wells, booster pump stations, storage tank facility, more than 16 miles of water mains and distribution pipelines, up to 1,100 household connections, and 300 fire hydrants. GEI is providing planning, environmental, design, and program management services for this project. The project is split into two phases for implementation purposes – Phase 1 was completed in early 2017 and Phase 2 is scheduled to be completed in early 2018.