Visalia, CA – The State Water Resources Control Board will be in Bakersfield this Wednesday, November 9, at the Junior League Community Center to gather public input on a proposed statewide water affordability program. The meeting, one of five held around the state this fall, is the first step toward shaping a program that will ensure all Californians have affordable drinking water.
Pedro Ramirez is the head of voter outreach for the Visalia-based Community Water Center – but he can’t vote. Ramirez was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and brought to the United States illegally at age 3. He now holds a work permit and temporary protection from deportation under the Obama administration’s 2012 program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. “People that can register to vote should, and they should vote because there’s people like me that can’t,” he said.
The State Water Board provided the space to solicit input from residents and other stakeholders about how to design a statewide low-income water rate assistance program. At the first workshop in Fresno, several residents discussed the impacts of unaffordable water rate hikes and how factors such as unemployment, having disabilities, and being low-income increase challenges to paying for basic water needs. State Water Board staff explained that these types of factors would be considered in the development of the Low-Income Water Rate Assistance program.
Poplar doesn’t have a mayor or a city council. The only local elected officials are the five members of the board of the Poplar Community Services District, which manages water, sewage and the community’s one park. Now there are two open seats on that board. And activists like Isaiah hope to fill them with someone who can help Poplar residents with a basic necessity: drinking water.
A state water agency has told some farmers in Tulare County that their operations caused nitrates to get into drinking water, and that the contamination must be replaced with a clean source. If the farmers don’t do it voluntarily, the state will order them to do so, the enforcement division of the State Water Resources Control Board says in a confidential letter obtained by The Bee.
Last month, the AGUA Coalition and CWC hosted federal officials from the US EPA’s Office of Water to share their experiences and expertise as the federal agency develops its National Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water.
The end of September meant both the end of the 2016 water year and a deadline for signing new legislation. In the past few weeks California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bevy of new bills into law, many of them addressing drought or water issues in the state
As a result of AB 401 (Dodd), which CWC supported last year, the State Water Board is now required to develop a plan for a Low-Income Water Rate Assistance Program. The Board is beginning its plan scoping by holding a series of public meetings to seek recommendations. The first meeting to shape California’s future water affordability program will be in Fresno on Friday, October 14th, at 6pm. There will also be meetings in Redding, Inglewood, Oakland, and Bakersfield. We strongly encourage you to attend one of these meetings if you have an unaffordable water rate or work with communities that have unaffordable water rates.
We’re thrilled to share that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law six important bills that advance environmental and water justice. We commend the legislators that authored each of these bills, our Governor for supporting them, and all of our allies in Sacramento and in the Valley for working so hard to make water justice a reality in California. Here’s a recap on the impact each bill will have:
Felicia Marcus and Tam Doduc from the California State Water Board wrote a letter congratulating Co-Directors Laurel and Susana for their awesome work over the past 10 years on water justice!