FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(06/30/2014) SACRAMENTO, CA – Communities and advocates secured a huge victory on June 15, 2014 with Governor Brown signing into law, through SB 861, the transfer of California’s Drinking Water Program (DWP) from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). This action is the culmination of many years of focused and relentless advocacy by community residents from the Central Valley and throughout the state – many of whom have long suffered without adequate safe drinking water resources.
California’s regulatory and funding programs for water are scattered across State government, and this has historically led to administrative inefficiencies, regulatory conflicts, and confusion for communities struggling to access funding for safe drinking water solutions. The DWP, which regulates the state’s water systems and provides funding for drinking water projects through the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, will be more appropriately placed in the SWRCB. The SWRCB’s mission is to preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations. With the SWRCB’s mission to protecting the quality of water at the source, a major benefit to integrating the DWP into the SWRCB is that now, within one agency, will be both the responsibility to protect water quality at its source and the accountability for that same water's quality when it comes out of the tap. Additional benefits of the DWP transfer include: reduced administrative costs through the consolidation of similar funding programs, the freeing up of existing State Revolving Fund funding for communities with contaminated drinking water, and more coordinated oversight of drinking water quality with water source protection.
The SWRCB will officially take over the DWP on July 1, 2014, and Community Water Center will continue to participate in the transition process to ensure existing projects continue to advance with limited interruption.
The DWP transfer is a significant victory for the future prosperity of our communities because efficient, coordinated, and comprehensive water management is the foundation for better quality drinking water resources reaching the taps of all California households. Thank you to the many community members, advocates, and State Assembly and Senate members and legislative staff whose hard work has made the DWP transfer a reality. Together, we have accomplished a huge step along the path to the full realization of the Human Right to Water for all Californians.