Yesterday afternoon, the State Water Resources Control Board sent a permit amendment notice to all public water systems in California requiring them to offer free tap water testing for lead contamination to the schools they serve. The move comes after mounting concerns over the lack of requirements for water quality testing in schools, especially after the disaster in Flint, Michigan.
Water justice advocates and environmental, health, rural, and equity organizations were encouraged that language in the Governor’s budget referenced safe and affordable water. However, advocates urged the Governor to prioritize developing a sustainable funding source this year to ensure all Californians have safe and affordable drinking water.
It may have taken longer than some wanted, but Tulare County Supervisors last week agreed they need to look at some form of a well ordinance, but not tie the hands of rural residents or farmers. Supervisors instructed county staff to come up with a draft ordinance which right now would place a moratorium on the drilling of new ag wells on land which is not presently being farmed. The county also instructed staff to study the need for a hydrologist who could further study impacts on new well drilling.
Californians relying on small water utilities to bring drinking water into their homes, or who work or go to school in places providing their own water, are far more likely to be exposed to lead, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by The Desert Sun and USA TODAY.
See some of our accomplishments over the past year!
The San Francisco Chronicle published an op-ed by CWC's Asha Kreiling on the need for a drinking water standard for 1,2,3,-TCP this morning! The story describes CWC's campaign to educate residents of impacted communities, such as Arvin, about the health risks 1,2,3-TCP, where it came from, and why we should all be advocating for the State Water Board to adopt a health-protective limit of 5 parts per trillion. Check out the story online and sign up to receive updates on upcoming opportunities to take action!
Last May, Governor Brown passed Executive Order B-37-16 which focuses on water conservation and drought resiliency throughout the state. One component of the executive order called on counties to work with the state to develop "improved drought planning" for those areas not covered by Urban Water Management Plans (i.e. small and rural communities).
It's been almost a year since CWC kicked off our campaign to protect drinking water from cancer-causing drinking water contaminant 1,2,3-TCP, and we've come a long way. But, we still have work to do. What may be the most critical point in this process is still to come. Once the State Water Board staff has drafted the regulations, they must solicit input from the public. The formal public comment period is set to take place in December - January, with the public hearing before the State Water Board members in January.
Now more than ever, we must stand together in the movement for water justice. Together, we can and will resist racism, sexism, xenophobia, and hate as we fight to secure safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Talking about groundwater regulations and governance can occasionally seem a little dry and boring, but it’s a huge issue for California.