Because long-term solutions to drinking water challenges can take many years to achieve, CWC is helping to create community-driven interim solutions with communities, schools, and public spaces in the San Joaquin Valley that do not have access to safe drinking water.
CWC provides technical assistance so that local community and school leaders have the ability to determine which interim solution option is most suitable given their existing water quality and other water use needs, and then implement that solution. CWC works with a number of funders and project partners to help ensure that there are funding resources or in-kind donations to cover project costs. These include initial capital equipment, materials, and labor, to ensure the project is affordable. CWC also provides training and assistance to project sites to develop a sustainable and successful operations and maintenance plan. CWC can also provide educational materials for community residents, students, parents, and staff about local drinking water contaminants, filtration systems, emergency drinking water supplies, and other important information to improve access to safe and affordable drinking water and reduce exposure to local contaminants.
Interim solutions projects help households and schools have safe, affordable, and readily accessible drinking water. Access to cost-effective interim sources of safe drinking water can help families save up to 10% of their monthly income from buying bottled water. Additionally, these projects can help schools ensure students are able to stay hydrated, which has been linked to higher academic performance; promote good nutrition, which is important to reduce rates of obesity and diabetes; and help comply with requirements of SB 1413 to provide access to free, fresh drinking water during meal times.
The Community Water Center has helped several communities in the San Joaquin Valley secure emergency drinking water after their wells went dry this past summer. In coordination with the AGUA Coalition, CWC helped County of Tulare employees deliver bottled water to residents of Monson in August of 2014. CWC also helped the community of Seville secure a water vending machine while they waited for their new well to be drilled last year. The vending machine, which can handle 5-gallon jugs will provide safe, accessible, and reliable source of drinking water for three years.
The Interim Safe Drinking Water in Schools Project is a collaborative effort spearheaded by The California Endowment with partners including local schools, community leaders, and non-profit organizations. The goals of this project are to:
1) Develop pilot projects for interim sources of safe drinking water in schools that currently lack resources to address drinking water challenges; and
2) Develop recommendations for roll-out of implementation of projects for schools without safe water state-wide.
In 2013, CWC worked in partnership with funders, manufacturers, community leaders, and other non-profit organizations to deliver safe water to public schools and daycare centers struggling with high levels of arsenic in the communities of Arvin and Lamont in South Kern County. These interim solutions consisted of installing filters at drinking water fountains and kitchen cooking areas. Read more about this work here.
For more information on the Interim Safe Drinking Water in Schools Project, please see the following resources:
Agua4All brings clean, safe drinking water to rural families through access to water bottle filling stations installed at public community sites in South Kern County and East Coachella Valley. Agua4All promotes consumption of water as the healthiest beverage choice, and also raises awareness about water quality and water access. By April 2016, 120 water stations and point of use filters were installed in schools, parks, libraries, health clinics, and other community spaces in these two regions. For Kern communities including Arvin, Lamont, Greenfield and Weedpatch; and Coachella Valley communities including Mecca, Thermal, Oasis, Salton City, North Shore and the City of Coachella; which have all struggled with water contamination and inadequate access to clean water for years, the Agua4All project is a big deal.
The key goals of Agua4All are to:
Fund water stations to help deliver safe, appealing, affordable and readily accessible drinking water.
Promote healthy beverage choices, which is important to reduce obesity and diabetes rates in children and adults. Water is the healthiest beverage choice.
Ensure students stay hydrated, which has been linked to higher academic performance.
Help schools comply with California’s SB1413 and the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act requirements to provide access to free, safe drinking water during meal times.
Help residents save money spent on alternative water sources, like bottled water.
Reduce solid waste generation by encouraging tap water consumption and reusable water bottle use.
Establish models and success stories for others schools, communities, funders and policymakers throughout California on how to access and promote safe water.
Three CWC staff have been trained in water sampling protocols, and we are working with a certified lab to test wells for seven priority contaminants:
-Total coliform bacteria
-1,2,3, Trichloropropane (TCP)
As possible, we are also testing depth to water using a well sounder.