WATER BOND ADVANCES HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER
Omar Carrillo, CWC Policy Analyst, meets with Governor Brown and Speaker Atkins to advocate for the new water bond.
Proposition 1, the $7.5-billion water bond that will appear on the November ballot, is an opportunity to direct resources to communities that lack access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water. CWC advocates were brought into last-minute negotiations between key legislative leaders and the Governor’s office to ensure the bond emphasizes the human right to water and targets resources to impacted communities.
The new water bond commits a minimum of $691 million for disadvantaged communities and prioritizes funding for small communities and regional collaboration. Of the $520 million that will go to providing clean, safe and reliable drinking water, $260 million would fund drinking water infrastructure improvements and $260 million would go to waste water infrastructure. For the first time, this water bond would make state resources available to communities reliant on state small water systems and private wells, which had been excluded from most previous water bond financing.
California voters have an opportunity to pass a water bond with focused resources to advance the human right to water. Learn more about the new bond and what it would mean for our communities.
HISTORIC CHANCE TO ENACT GROUNDWATER LEGISLATION
Transparent, inclusive groundwater reform is needed to ensure that communities have access to safe, clean and affordable water.
This month, legislators have the opportunity to establish the first comprehensive groundwater regulation for the state of California in its near 165 year history. Two critical legislative bills, AB 1739 (Dickinson) and SB 1168 (Pavley) are one floor vote away from creating a more sustainable water future for all Californians.
Californians have been depleting groundwater for many years by allowing users to pump as much as they please. Unmeasured and uncontrolled, this has caused the ground to sink, pollution of drinking water sources, and wells to go dry. Small, rural communities in the San Joaquin Valley have bared the brunt of inaction on groundwater management, made much worse by this three-year drought. It is literally a race to the bottom.
The California Water Foundation unveiled a modified California state flag that features a desert camel instead of a grizzly bear, to illustrate the severity of the state’s groundwater crisis and urge lawmakers to pass groundwater management legislation. You can show your support by downloading the image and posting it to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Read the full Press Release.
AB 1739 (Dickinson) and SB 1168 (Pavley) create regionally controlled groundwater management agencies with the mandate to achieve sustainability within 20 years, and authorize the state to step in if they fail. The bills call for the inclusion of small and disadvantaged communities in the planning and management process, and require transparency and demonstrated progress to address continued impacts on community water supplies and other groundwater impacts.
There continues to be opposition to these bills from some of the agricultural community and some key legislative members. CWC will continue to work with allies, the legislature and all stakeholders to move this legislation forward. With the clock counting down, we need your help to ensure legislators understand the need to protect California’s groundwater!
Make your voice heard by signing our petition. The Community Water Center will deliver it to key legislative leaders at the State Capital on your behalf.
TULARE LAKE BASIN STUDY HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR COLLABORATION ON WATER ISSUES
Members of the Stakeholders Oversight Advisory Committee met regularly to determine priority issues, review pilot projects, and evaluate project recommendations.
The Tulare Lake Basin Disadvantaged Community Water Study concluded this month after three years of collaboration, community outreach, and stakeholder engagement. Hundreds of residents from Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties participated in documenting community water needs and proposing common solutions.
EXCLUSIVE PREMIER OF THIRSTY FOR JUSTICE FILM
The study resulted in a 250-page final report, as well as a comprehensive database of 354 disadvantaged communities in the region. Of the 196 communities for which water quality data was available, 45 percent had a water quality problem during the two-year study period. One quarter of the region’s disadvantaged communities still rely on a single water source, leaving them especially vulnerable to drought and changes in water quality. As part of a region-wide Stakeholder Oversight Advisory Committee (SOAC), community representatives worked with regulatory and funding agency representatives to determine priority issues, review pilot projects, and evaluate project recommendations. At the final SOAC meeting earlier this month, participants committed to continue collaborating to address common water issues in the region. The final report and public database will be available publicly next month.
On Thursday, September 25, CWC will be hosting a film screening and panel discussion of the new documentary, Thirsty for Justice: The Struggle for the Human Right to Water.
The film shares powerful stories of the communities suffering from lack of access to safe, clean, and affordable water in California.
Thirsty for Justice chronicles the inspiring grassroots movement that made the Human Right to Water the law of the land in California. The film premier will be held on September 25, 2014, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Connect 210 in Visalia. Space is limited, so RSVP today!
JENNY REMPEL JOINS OUR TEAM
Jenny Rempel joins our team as our new Communications and Development Coordinator.
We are excited to welcome our new Communications and Development Coordinator, Jenny Rempel! Jenny was born and raised in Fresno, and she has supported grassroots social justice organizing at PolicyLink, the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, and the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation. Read more about Jenny below.
We also said heart-felt goodbyes to our Program Associate, Kaitlin Toyama, who worked with CWC for the past two years. She has started law school at UC Hastings and we wish her the best of luck!
Top photo by Bear Guerra