Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

January 2017 CWLN newsletter

Public Comment Period for Setting 1,2,3-TCP MCL Beginning Early 2017

1,2,3-TCP (1,2,3-trichloropropane) is a toxic chemical that has been detected in hundreds of wells located all over California. More than half of the state’s contaminated wells are found in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley. The contamination stems from the use of pesticides manufactured by Shell Oil and Dow Chemical Company which were extensively used prior to the 1980s.

TCP was deemed a carcinogen by the State of California in 1992. Although it has gone unregulated for over 20 years, we will have water justice in 2017. Many water systems impacted by 1,2,3-TCP have already turned to the courts, seeking compensation from Dow and Shell in order to recover the funds needed to treat TCP without having to burden ratepayers. Setting the MCL would expedite these cost-recovery lawsuits that have been pending for years, but more importantly, would result in 1,2,3-TCP being removed from drinking water and better protection of public health.

The State Water Board sent letters in April encouraging water systems to start monitoring for the contaminant, and they have been drafting the regulation all 2016. In July, they released their preliminary recommendation to set the MCL at the most-health protective level - 5 parts per trillion — the level at which it can be detected. CWC is advocating for the board to stand by their initial recommendation to protect public health. The public comment period for the regulation begins in mid January. We need everyone, especially Valley water system board members, to urge the State Water Board to set the most health-protective level to protect our communities from this cancer-causing contaminant. Contact CWC’s Asha Kreiling (Asha.Kreiling@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346) for more information or for a template comment letter or resolution. Or, you can submit comments, with subject line “1,2,3-TCP Maximum Contaminant Level,” to commentletters@waterboards.ca.gov


Inaugural Roundtable Recap

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On December 1st, 2016 Community Water Leaders met with agency staff to discuss SGMA and the Human Right to Water. 

On December 1st, the Community Water Leaders Network hosted its kick-off roundtable discussion! This inaugural event focused on the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and the Human Right to Water. Representatives from 11 communities, the Department of Water Resources, the State Water Resources Control Board as well as Community Water Center staff all participated. The conversation was broken into three sections, (Technical Assistance and Best Management Practices, grant funding, and state intervention) to reflect the three principal components of state agency work on SGMA currently underway.

Meeting highlights:

  • The $84 million of sustainable groundwater planning funding from the Proposition 1 water bond is expected to be made available starting summer 2017. $10 million of this funding is specifically earmarked for Severely Disadvantaged Communities (SDACs). Scoping meetings regarding this funding will be held early next year. 
  • While the DWR hasn’t fully formulated their plan for providing Technical Assistance (TA) to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and groundwater extractors, broadly speaking they are preparing to focus on three actions: (1) expanding tools for developing and implementing GSP; (2) collecting and sharing data; and (3) establishing local contacts for technical assistance and questions. 
  • The cost of SGMA implementation for small special districts and small cities varies widely through the South Valley. In some GSAs communities are contributing significant funding; in other areas, their small size and relatively low water use has exempted them from that responsibility.

Stay tuned for more SGMA updates! As GSAs are finalized, the next step will be to begin working on Groundwater Sustainability Plans. DWR’s SGMA listserv is a great resource for more information on this topic. Also, make sure that your board has requested “interested party status” in writing for your local GSA if you are not a signatory to a formation agreement. If you missed the meeting or would like extra copies of the meeting materials to share, contact Kristin.


Let us know what you’re up to! 

Has your board adopted a new policy recently? Hired new staff? Received funding for a project or made infrastructure improvements? We want to know about it! In future newsletters we will be profiling the work of member boards. These community profiles are not only an opportunity to share your successes, but also for other boards to learn from what you have done and get advice if they are working on something similar. Call or email with your examples and we will also be reaching out to you for ideas. 


Upcoming events:

  • January 18th 6:00 - 8:00 PM. RCAC Classroom workshop. AB 1234 Ethics Training for Boards. Register at Madera High School, Madera, California. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • January 19th 6:00 - 8:00 PM. RCAC Classroom workshop. AB 1234 Ethics Training for Boards. Frazier Park PUD office, Frazier Park, California. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • January 31 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. Board Basics: Board roles and responsibilities. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.

More events can be found on the Community Water Leaders online calendar at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network


Featured resources of the month:

In honor of our inaugural roundtable on the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), our featured resources for this month offer more information about this important new law and its implementation.

The Water Education Foundation’s SGMA Handbook: The Water Education Foundation has an excellent handbook for understanding and implementing SGMA which has been updated to reflect changes from recent revisions to the legislation. You can find it on their website here or google “Water Education Foundation SGMA Handbook”

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) website: DWR’s Sustainable Groundwater Management website provides a wealth of information on SGMA and its implementation including a link to track Groundwater Sustainability Agency (GSA) notifications as they are submitted to the state prior to the June 30, 2017 deadline here


Don’t forget! Network Briefing January 26th 4-5 PM!

A core component of the Community Water Leaders Network is the monthly conference call that provides members an opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. Our first monthly water leaders briefing will be held on Thursday January 26th from 4-5 PM. To join, simply dial (571) 317-3122, when prompted, enter the access code 611-041-917 followed by the pound key (#). Press # when prompted for the Audio Pin. Let Kristin know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  1. Member updates and questions

  2. Regional and state updates and questions

  3. Monthly discussion topic


Upcoming water conferences/workshops for board members

Water Education Foundation’s Water 101 Workshop, February 2-3 in Sacramento

Every year, the Water Education Foundation hosts a Water 101 workshop in Sacramento. Water 101 details the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in California, as well as hot topics currently facing the state. Featuring some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, day one includes discussion on the history of California water and management, water rights, and water use among other topics. The optional second half-day of the workshop will provide a governance primer for water district directors that will include the roles and responsibilities of a director and legal requirements of board members. The full one-and-a-half day workshop costs $275, but we are working on arranging discounts/scholarships.

Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) Annual Conference, March 23-24 in San Diego

Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) was founded in 2012 with the mission of educating and engaging electeds from Latino communities on issues of water. Central to this mission is their annual conference which aims to make sure that local elected officials can make a difference for all Californians by taking the necessary steps to assure adequate clean water for our communities, protect our natural resources and our local economies. The conference is free and there are scholarships available for room and lodge.

Contact Kristin if you are interested in attending either or both of these events.


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? Contact Kristin Dobbin at 559-733-0219 or kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org .
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