FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sacramento, CA | January 10, 2018 -- Governor Brown commits to ensuring the basic human right to safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians in his January proposed budget.
The following statement was issued by Clean Water Action, Community Water Center, and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability:
“Up to one million Californians have to turn on the taps to water that is unsafe to drink. Our organizations and the more than 100 organizations that have supported the creation of a statewide Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund look forward to working with the Governor and the state legislature to make this fund a reality in California this year. Every Californian deserves safe, affordable drinking water.”
Our statement was featured in The Sacramento Bee on January 10th: http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article193991034.html
As we have shared before, CWC’s top legislative priority is SB 623 which would create a new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to ensure all California communities and those on domestic wells can have access to safe drinking water. In partnership with Senator Monning and over 90 other organizations, CWC has worked hard in 2017 to move SB 623 through the Legislative Process. YOU played a critical role by attending lobbying days in Sacramento, passing resolutions of support through your local water board, making phone calls, and taking other forms of action. Thank you for making your voice heard.
While we have made great progress this year in moving SB 623 from the Senate into the Assembly, Senator Monning and stakeholders have decided to wait until next year to proceed with SB 623. This will allow for sufficient time to educate the legislative membership, and the public, to fully understand recent amendments made to the legislation and the importance of the policy to address the statewide problem of contaminated water in California.
We will continue building power and momentum over the coming months and will take up the fight again in January when the legislature reconvenes. Please stay tuned -- we will need you to remain engaged and taking action in order to push SB 623 over the finish line. Thank you!
CWC partnered with Assemblymember Salas from Bakersfield to pass AB 560, which broadens the guidelines for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to allow larger systems whose service area qualifies as a severely disadvantaged community (SDAC) to apply for grant funding, if paying off a loan would result in unaffordable water rates. The bill also sets the affordability metric at 1.5% of the median household income. AB 560 improves the types of financial assistance that larger (but still small) communities like Arvin access through the DWSRF. This represents a modest improvement, but a far more important next step is to pass SB 623. We hope Assemblymember Salas will be a strong partner with CWC to fight for passage of SB 623 in 2018.
CWC worked with a coalition of water and environmental organizations to advocate for AB 1668, which includes a requirement that the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop recommended guidelines for county-level drought contingency planning for small water systems and rural communities. The bill also included a requirement that DWR use available data to identify small water suppliers and rural communities that may be at risk of drought and water shortage vulnerability, and then notify counties and local groundwater sustainability agencies of those suppliers or communities that may be at risk within its jurisdiction, and make the information publicly accessible on its Internet Web site. The legislative authors decided to make AB 1668 a two-year bill and continue working on the legislation next year. This gives CWC and other allies more time to educate decision makers and the public about the importance of proactive drought and water vulnerability planning.
A coalition of environmental justice and other advocates that included CWC were successful in securing funding through the 2017-2018 state budget for emergency drinking water needs. This included $8 million for the State Water Board for emergency replacement of domestic wells and other emergency drinking water needs, $4 million for DWR for emergency needs, and $5 million for a CalFResh water benefit pilot.
By Ezra David Romero
Farmers and environmental justice leaders, including Community Water Center, have led a coalition that is urging California Assembly leaders to bring SB623, the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to a vote, instead of tabling it until the next legislative session. Passing this bill as quickly as possible is of highest priority, as it would fund long-term operations and maintenance of water systems for the 300 plus California communities dealing with water contamination. Waiting until the next legislative session would leave hundreds of communities with unsafe tap water, contaminated with nitrates, arsenic, uranium, and other contaminants.
Check out the full story from KVPR: http://kvpr.org/post/farmers-environmental-leaders-urge-legislature-support-safe-drinking-water-bill
Community Events & Announcements:
Armona Community Services Dedication of New $9,200,000 Well and Water Treatment Facility
The Board of Directors of the Armona Community Services cordially invites you to the dedication of their new $9,200,000 well and water treatment facility. The Dedication Ceremony will begin promptly at 11AM followed by facility tours and a light lunch. Armona is very proud of this state of the art facility and hope you are able to attend. If you would like to address the audience or make a presentation, please call Krystal at (559) 584-4542 in order for us to properly introduce you.
Friday, September 8th, 2017
10116- 14th Avenue, Hanford, CA (immediately South of the Old Kings Drive In Theater)
Community Water Center’s Water Justice Celebration
Join us for food, music, networking, and inspiring speakers! Check out our flyer and RSVP here: http://www.communitywatercenter.org/kehinton/2017visaliaevent
Thursday, September 21st, 2017
210 Cafe -- 210 W. Center Ave. Visalia, CA 93291
Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SB 623) updates:
SB 623 (Monning) creates a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund with the State Water Board to fund drinking water solutions including capital infrastructure and operations and maintenance (O&M) costs. Currently there is no available funding to help systems struggling to finance O&M costs and without being able to show ability to do so, these systems are ineligible for capital infrastructure grants and loans from the State. The fund will be partially funded through contributions from agriculture for communities impacted by nitrate contamination, and partially funded through a water user fee (less than a dollar for single-family homes) for all other barriers to safe and affordable drinking water.
So far SB 623 has passed through the California Senate and one committee in the California Assembly, but it still has a number of hurdles ahead. In late August the bill will be voted on in Assembly Appropriations committee, then in early September it will go to the Assembly floor for a vote, then back to the Senate for another floor vote, and finally the bill will go to the Governor who has until mid-October to sign the bill into law.
SB 623 needs your support and there are a number of ways you can help. If your district has not done so already, you can submit resolutions in support of the bill. You can call your local legislator and let them know you support safe drinking water for all. You can also go to fundsafewaterca.org/ to sign a petition in support of SB 623. Together we can ensure California finally has a sustainable source of funding to support the human right to water.
If you have any questions please contact Jonathan Nelson at 916-706-3346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Low Income Rate Assistance Program (AB 401) update:
The State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) has concluded a series of public meetings to discuss options for a low-income rate assistance (LIRA) program to help Californians who have difficulties paying their water bills. Some local programs already exist, but AB 401 (passed in 2015) directs the Water Board to develop a plan for a statewide program that would cover many low-income households not currently served by a water LIRA. In the coming months, the Water Board will be working on a report to submit to the legislature in early 2018 that will include any recommendations for legislative action; if approved, a statewide water LIRA program could be in place in 2019. CWC will continue to be involved in the implementation process to ensure that the needs of California’s small rural communities are addressed in the proposal. You can help the Water Board design an effective, appropriate program to help low-income residents pay their water bills by submitting written comments on the published AB 401 scenarios until August 25th. This is an important step toward water affordability, and another step closer to achieving the human right to water for all Californians!
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Sonia Saini at email@example.com.
Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: September 28th, 4-5 PM
REMINDER: no Network Briefing call in August
Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. As a reminder, we changed service providers which means, we have a new conference call phone number and passcode. To join, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.
1. Member updates and questions
2. Regional and state updates and questions
3. Monthly discussion topic: Prop 1 / funding projects
Upcoming Events and Trainings:
Find more events on our Community Water Leaders online calendar found at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) Updates:
On August 1st, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted a resolution to remove the the current MCL for the pollutant hexavalent chromium (chrome 6). This resolution was passed after a Superior Court of Sacramento County ruling invalidated the hexavalent chromium MCL on May 31, 2017. In 2014 the MCL was set at 10 parts per billion (ppb). Hexavalent chromium is a naturally occurring heavy metal that may cause cancer after long-term exposure.
The hexavalent chromium MCL will be deleted from the California Code of Regulations in late September. The Board will begin the process for adopting a new MCL and will have a new MCL in approximately 18-24 months. While the State will not enforce hexavalent chromium compliance plans, the state MCL for total chromium (both trivalent and hexavalent chromium) of 50 ppb will remain in place. The Board estimates that the new MCL will be at the same or similar level as the now invalid one. Public water systems that planned/completed projects to treat hexavalent chromium may use that information once the new MCL is established.
Featured Resources of the Month:
The State Water Resources Control Board just released an updated guide that provides information on the various ways to engage with your local Water Board. The guide includes information ranging from: government structure and overview of water board programs, basin planning processes, water rights application processes, and a series of Water Board maps. The guide provides examples of available databases such as My Water Quality, a web portal for monitoring water safety, and GeoTracker, a data management system for impacted groundwater sites where users can layer data onto a map. No matter what your current level of engagement with our Regional Water Board, this guide is a helpful reference for navigating processes and getting connected with water resources.
The Groundwater Information Center (GIC) is a web portal where visitors can access groundwater information ranging from: groundwater management plans, water well basics, well permitting processes, and information on bulletin 118. The portal also offers links to an interactive groundwater map application and a link to the Water Data Library (WDL) with data for over 35,000 California wells.
REMINDER: Reduced Annual Fees for DAC Public Water Systems
On May 15, 2017 the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water issued a letter to Community Public Water Systems informing them of the possibility of reducing their Annual Fee if the system serves a Disadvantaged Community (DAC).
If you qualify (the Median Household Income in your community is less than $49,454), the reduced fee for your water system will be based on the number of connections that you serve. Systems serving fewer than 100 connections will pay $100. Systems serving 15,000 connections or less will pay $100 plus $2 for each service connection greater than 100.
If you believe your water system is eligible and wish to receive a reduced Annual Fee, submit a request in the form of a signed letter and include information demonstrating that your community meets the definition of a Disadvantaged Community, the DDW will respond.
You can find the letter they sent here. If you have any questions, contact your District Engineer.
Each year, a million Californians—well more than the population of Flint, Michigan—are impacted by unsafe drinking water.
On April 19th, dozens of community leaders from the San Joaquin Valley traveled up to Sacramento to speak out in support of Senate Bill 623, which would create a fund to ensure all Californians have safe and affordable drinking water.
Senate Bill 623 (by Senator Bill Monning) is now on its way to the Senate Appropriations Committee. As the bill heads to this committee, now is the time to tell the state legislature to support safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians.
California has always been a leader, and we have high standards in almost every area of public life. It’s time we caught up on drinking water.
Children are especially at risk. Drinking water with contaminants like arsenic and nitrate can cause rashes, miscarriages, and cancer. Some schools are having to spend their limited school budget on bottled water, just so that students can get an education without getting sick.
The lack of state funding for water system operation and maintenance expenses has left hundreds of small, low-income communities facing a terrible decision: raise rates to unaffordable levels, or leave the water untreated and unsafe?
Residents from Alpaugh, Lanare, Arvin, and other communities traveled to Sacramento speak out in support of legislative action this year to ensure safe and affordable drinking water for all.