Community Water Center

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

November 2014 Newsletter

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November 2014

Hi -

Happy holidays from the Community Water Center! We’re so grateful for you - our supporters in the movement for water justice. We hope you’ll help us redefine holiday giving this season by supporting our Giving Tuesday campaign on December 2nd and using AmazonSmile to support us when you do any online shopping. Read on to hear about holiday giving, career opportunities at CWC, a win in Arvin, ongoing organizing in Northern Tulare County, and recent media coverage of community drought struggles. Warm wishes from our water justice family to yours.

With gratitude,
Laurel and Susana 

gray dividerWE'RE HIRING!

Do you or does someone you know want to work full time to help all communities secure the human right to water? CWC is excited to begin the search for three new full-time staff members! We’re hiring a Community Organizer and a Regional Water Management Coordinator in our Visalia Office, and a Program Assistant in our Sacramento Office. Click below for links to the full job descriptions, and please share these postings with your networks!

Read the Tulare Lake Basin Study Report
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CWC and our community partners spoke at an Arvin Community Services District meeting about the need for water solutions.

Nearly every public well in the town of Arvin, CA, has arsenic levels in violation of the maximum contaminant level. Arvin is also home to the worst air quality in the country, industrial composting facilities, fracking wells, and a Superfund site. As a result, Arvin, which is located a half-hour’s drive south of Bakersfield, has a strong movement of environmental justice organizing.

Through The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative, CWC has been working to develop a lasting solution to Arvin’s water injustices. Because bringing on board up to five new wells will take at least three years, we are hard at work getting Arvin’s 20,000 residents interim solutions to access safe, clean, and affordable water. As part of the Agua4All pilot project, we’re working in partnership with The California Endowment, Rural Community Assistance Corporation, and Pueblo Unido CDC to install filters and community water taps at sites throughout Arvin. And thanks to strong organizing by local groups like the Committee for a Better Arvin and our Technical Analyst, Shen Huang, Arvin will soon receive three water vending machines! These vending machines are crucial to ensuring residents have a place to get free, accessible, safe water. And through Agua4all, we're working to ensure safe water access points are ultimately secured throughout the community. We look forward to continuing to share updates about water justice in Arvin and throughout Kern County!  



CWC staff review the draft engineering report with Northern Tulare County residents. 

The northern Tulare County communities of Cutler, East Orosi, Monson, Orosi, Seville, Sultana, and Yettem have formed a regional collaborative to address their water needs in partnership with the Alta Irrigation District, facilitated by CWC’s organizing team. These seven, small, unincorporated communities have struggled to provide safe drinking water to their residents, who are primarily low-income, Latino farmworker families, because the region’s groundwater is contaminated with high levels of nitrates and the pesticide DBCP.

In late 2013, the communities received state funding to begin planning the Northern Tulare County Regional Water Project. In October, a draft engineering report was completed, and it is open for public comments until December 15th. Our team has developed report summaries, outreach tools, and project maps, and we’re facilitating direct community engagement in the planning process. By holding meetings with residents and stakeholders, we’re improving community members’ access to the project steering committee, local water boards, and county decision makers.

The development of a regional drinking water project in the area will ensure long-term water quality for the seven small communities, but the project must also create the capacity and economies of scale to keep rates affordable. In January, work will begin on a regional governance study to assess how best to build long-term community capacity to manage the water project. CWC will continue to facilitate a strong collaborative and inclusive process as part of that study to ensure the solution developed is affordable and benefits all communities.

Read the Tulare Lake Basin Study Report grey dividerUSE AMAZON SMILE TO SUPPORT CWC WITH YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING

CWC is partnering with the AmazonSmile Foundation to make the giving season about giving back. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to CWC when you select us as your nonprofit of choice. Click below to choose CWC on AmazonSmile, and when you go to pull out your holiday gift list, know that you’re supporting CWC with an automatic donation from Amazon!


We've welcomed recent rain in the Central Valley, but the California drought continues. Al Jazeera America shared how colder winter temperatures bring new challenges for individuals and families without running water in their homes. Univision’s national Spanish-language news program Primer Impacto featured CWC Co-Director Susana De Anda and East Porterville residents whose wells have run dry. CBS’s 60 Minutes recently shared stories of California’s dangerous groundwater depletion and the need for groundwater reform. The drought in Tulare County even received international coverage in Brazil and Spain from the Spanish-language outlet El País. We will continue connecting drought-impacted residents with reporters to lift up stories of community resilience and empowerment through this devastating  drought.

Read More Button gray dividerGIVING TUESDAY

Exciting news! We’ve secured a $5,000 matching grant to help build the movement for water justice through grassroots fundraising! We’re kicking off our end-of-year fundraising campaign on Tuesday, Dec. 2nd, when we’ll be partnering with organizations from around the world to redefine holiday giving. “Giving Tuesday” is an opportunity for our supporters to use the power of giving to help CWC strengthen the movement for water justice. Our goal is to raise $20,000 in individual donations before 2015, and the first $5,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar to help us reach that goal.

Read the Tulare Lake Basin Study Report
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Top photo by Bear Guerra

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