Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Water Justice Leadership Awards last month! We honored the AGUA Coalition (la Asociación de Gente Unida por el Agua), the East Porterville Project Team, and Assemblymember Richard Bloom.
AGUA Coalition (la Asociación de Gente Unida por el Agua, or the Association of People United for Water)
More than 10 years ago, leaders from across the San Joaquin Valley came together because they realized the water injustices facing their individual communities were part of a landscape of unsafe and unjust water conditions that extends throughout the region. A.G.U.A., which stands for La Asociación de Gente Unida Por el Agua, or the Association of People United for Water, has been meeting monthly ever since its founding in 2006. This regional, grassroots coalition of impacted community residents and allied non-profit organizations is dedicated to securing safe, clean, and affordable drinking water for the San Joaquin Valley. Since its founding, the AGUA Coalition has amplified the voices of communities directly impacted by water injustices to advocate for systemic change. For AGUA’s successful organizing, tireless advocacy for systemic change, and dedication to building the movement, we are honored to present the Coalition with the Water Justice Leadership Award.
East Porterville Water Supply Project
Just one year ago, nearly a third of the residents of East Porterville were living without water in their homes because of the ongoing drought. In this short period of time, funds have been secured, agreements have been signed, infrastructure has been installed to bring water back to the residents of East Porterville., So far, more than 600 properties have signed up for water service, and more than 200 of those properties have already been connected to a reliable source of safe drinking water. By the end of 2017, more than half of the 7,000 residents of East Porterville should be connected for the first time to a reliable public water system. This has required close collaboration from a host of agencies, organizations, and community members including: The Department of Water Resources and their contract engineers, the State Water Resources Control Board, the City of Porterville, the County of Tulare, California Office of Emergency Services, Self-Help Enterprises, Community Services Employment Training, and East Porterville for Water Justice. This project highlights the political will to act, and the huge number of agencies and organizations which need to work together as a team to accomplish a landmark project like the East Porterville Water Supply Project, as well as the importance of working hand-in-hand with the community.
California Assemblymember Richard Bloom
Richard Bloom represents the 50th District of the California State Assembly. In 2016, Assembly Member Bloom eagerly accepted CWC's request for him to author a bill that would require assessments of water quality and access in schools. Additionally, as Chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee 3, Assembly Member Bloom and his staff championed a water justice budget package, from which more than $9.5 million was added to the 2016-17 California state budget, which will help more than 100,000 students access safe drinking water.