Asm. Alejo Press Release
(02/12/2014) (SACRAMENTO) — Assemblymember Luis Alejo (D-Salinas) has introduced legislation proposing $2 million to devise a comprehensive drinking water plan. Specifically, the funds would be for the development of an integrated water quality and wastewater treatment program plan for disadvantaged communities in the Salinas Valley.
“Even before the drought, many of our communities lacked access to clean and safe drinking water,” comments Alejo. “Now, with decreasing surface and groundwater supplies, the issue of access to clean and safe drinking water should be a higher priority.”
High levels of nitrate in groundwater sources have plagued the Salinas Valley for years. Nitrate groundwater contamination not only imposes serious health risks but also results in major costs for small rural communities. AB 1630 would provide a starting point for the state to begin identifying affordable and efficient means for providing disadvantaged communities in the Salinas Valley access to safe drinking water.
“Clearly, the Salinas Valley must prioritize water conservation and sustainable water management,” states Alejo. “With this bill, our leaders can at least begin to think about how we can best maximize our water resources in order to help struggling communities.”
In March of 2012, a report published by UC Davis found that approximately 10 percent of 2.6 million people in the Tulare Lake Basin and the Salinas Valley rely on drinking water that may contain levels of nitrates above the state drinking water standards set by the California Department of Public Health.
“This is an important bill for all people of the Salinas Valley,” says Omar Carillo of Community Water Center, a non-profit organization that supports community driven solutions to California’s drinking water problems. “This bill provides base assistance that will allow communities to plan for the future. Too many rural communities throughout California lack the basic water infrastructure needed to guarantee safe and affordable drinking water.”
AB 1630 will be considered by the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials later this year in March.
Luis Alejo represents the 30th District in the California State Assembly, which consists of the Salinas Valley, Monterey County, San Benito County, South Santa Clara County and the city of Watsonville in Santa Cruz County.