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As I mentioned in our last newsletter, even though we’re being responsible and practicing physical distancing, our work continues.
For starters, we’ve moved to the digital space by holding virtual staff meetings. Check us out above!
We’re also holding virtual community meetings (platicas) with our community partners. You can read about a great example from our Central Coast location below.
We even kept pushing for a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs, which Governor Newsom implemented this month! Scroll down to read what it means for you.
Lastly, we talked to a lot of reporters about how COVID-19 is impacting water access for vulnerable communities. Shout out to AGUA Coalition member Lucy Hernandez for being featured in three news stories so far! More to come. Check out all the news stories below.
As our world changes, so do we. Whatever it takes to continue the struggle for safe, clean, and affordable drinking water for all, we’re ready.
Susana De Anda
Central Coast Platicas Go Virtual
Our Central Coast organizing team continues to hold monthly platicas virtually! Members of El Comité para Tener Agua Sana, Limpia, y Económica from the Bluff/Jensen/Springfield area of the Central Coast joined our virtual platica on April 3rd.
We discussed our upcoming Central Coast regional bottled water program and shared how we are being affected by the current COVID-19 crisis. Many have become stay-at-home teachers and are concerned for their family’s health, but they continue to have access to water thanks to the bottled water program that they advocated for and secured.
We will continue to create ways to connect, communicate, and advocate with our community partners for access to clean and affordable drinking water during this time of physical distancing.
Members of El Comite celebrating their one-year anniversary! (Picture taken before shelter-in-place practices began)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Moratorium on Water Shutoffs
What is the moratorium?
Governor Newsom placed a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs on April 2, 2020 by an executive order.
What is included in the governor’s executive order?
The executive order includes an immediate statewide shutoff moratorium with no end date at this time. It also requires reconnections for anyone who has lost water due to non-payment beginning March 4, 2020.
What does this mean for me?
It means your water cannot be shut off if you are unable to afford your water bill. If your water was disconnected on March 4, 2020 or anytime after, your water provider must reconnect your water.
Who is covered by the executive order?
The executive order applies to everyone in the State of California.
My water was shut off. What do I do?
Visit our resource page.
If your water was shut off prior to March 4, please let us know!
What if I need water?
There are resources available. Please call us at (559) 733-0219 if your home does not have enough safe water to meet your needs during the COVID-19 emergency. You can also visit our resource page.
How did CWC help make this happen?
CWC, along with our close partners Leadership Counsel and Clean Water Action, called on the Governor to place a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs, reconnect any homes who had their water shutoff due to nonpayment, and provide emergency funding for bottled water programs, as well as programs that help support our smallest water systems. We also did our part to help build a coalition of more than 75 organizations to support protecting communities’ water access and helped share communities’ stories in the media.
What will CWC continue to advocate for?
- Reconnections for Californians whose water was shut off prior to March 4.
- Emergency funding for our smallest water systems, such as helping small water systems cover any major lost revenue that threatens continuity of service.
- Bill forgiveness so low-income households aren’t hit with massive, unaffordable water bills in a few months, so they won’t continue to be at risk for shutoffs.
- A statewide water affordability low-income rate assistance program to make sure all Californains can have the assistance they need to pay for their water bills.
Your voice will be needed in the months ahead, so watch out for opportunities to get involved!
CWC in the News!
The Sun-Gazette: Water advocates advise against bottled water hoarding.
“How can we stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities if people don’t have access to clean water? We need immediate action—including a statewide ban on water shutoffs—to make sure everyone has access to safe and clean water during this COVID-19 crisis, regardless of their zip code or financial situation.” Susana De Anda, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Community Water Center
California Health Report: For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle.
“I was in shock. I said, ‘How can this happen? How can we be without water bottles if we need the water?’ A lot of our residents, they depend on this kind of water, and there was nothing, nothing.” Lucy Hernandez, AGUA Coalition Member, Community Water Center
SJV Water: Groundwater Might Be Newest Cash Crop for Valley Farmers.
“We’ve been looking at several GSPs and they show a significant drawdown of groundwater levels without consideration for the impacts on drinking water wells. If (Groundwater Sustainability Agencies) are incapable of addressing those basic impacts in their GSPs, we’re also worried they wouldn’t be incorporated in a groundwater market.” Debi Ores, Senior Staff Attorney, Community Water Center
Sacramento Bee: Gavin Newsom issues a moratorium on water utility shutoffs during the coronavirus emergency.
“This is an issue that is already being felt in communities we’re working with. The next billing cycle is just around the corner.”Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center.
Earthjustice/NBC: Stopping coronavirus requires hand washing. But what happens when your water gets cut off?
“Our farmworker communities are feeding the country — they have been deemed essential workers. They’re coming home to the reality of ... do they have safe water at all? And if so, can they afford it?” Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center
Food and Environment Reporting Network: Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water
“I’m doing the census here in the community and everybody is telling me the same thing. They can’t find water in the stores and a lot of people can’t even find food.” Lucy Hernandez, AGUA Coalition member, Community Water Center
Public News Service: COVID-19 Worsens Water Crisis for Families in Rural California
“Access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water is a basic human right and it should never be a privilege.” Susana De Anda, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Community Water Center
“They need bottled water for the babies’ formula and they depend on bottled water also for drinking water and for cooking. They have babies at home. They don’t give them that tap water.” Lucy Hernandez, AGUA Coalition member, Community Water Center
See previous CWC news coverage here.
April 30, 2020 - Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group Meeting
9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Remote participation only.
- NEW!! CWC’s web portal for COVID-19 response and community resources.
- NEW!! Recommendations to Ensure Drinking Water Protections for Communities.Alongside our allies (Environmental Defense Fund, Self Help Enterprises, The Nature Conservancy, and Union of Concerned Scientists) we developed recommendations for groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to consider when designing and implementing groundwater markets in order to protect community drinking water needs. Click here for more information about CWC’s sustainable groundwater work.
Huge thank you to our monthly donors, whose continual contributions help to sustain our long-term work toward achieving safe, clean and affordable drinking water!
Amy Helfant, Anavel Valdez, Arden Wells, Bessma Mourad, Carly Yoshida, Cassie Morgan, Edward Bergtholdt, Frank Lukacs, Jill Ratner, Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, Kavita Vora, Kelsey Hinton, Kristin Dobbin, Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Sandra Hocker, Vicente Guerrero, Victoria Klug
And thank you to our generous donors for the month of April!
Donna Ni, Jerry Tinoco, MIchelaina Johnson, Rosanna Esparza
During this crisis, CWC appreciates your support to help us ensure low-income communities have access to safe and affordable water. Everyone needs access to water to protect their families and themselves from COVID-19 and to fulfill life’s basic needs. If you are in a position to support safe water access, please consider donating to CWC!