Community Water Center

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

Community Water Center COVID-19 Response

CWC COVID-19 Response

During this uncertain and difficult time, we are working alongside community partners and allies to ensure that vulnerable communities in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast have access to the resources they need and to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.

In the immediate term we are reaching out to community members, assessing the impact to vulnerable communities, and connecting people to available resources. For longer-term solutions we successfully advocated for a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs along with clean water advocates and are working toward a water affordability program for all Californians.

It is important to stay safe and informed during this difficult time about the resources available to you during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Is your access to water being affected? Tell us.

If you're having trouble accessing safe, clean, and affordable drinking water, we want to hear from you. Let us know your situation so we can ensure that your concerns are heard by state and local decision-makers.

Email us: or call:(559) 733-0219

COVID-19 Resources & Know Your Rights

  • Emergency Bottled Water: If your household does not have enough safe water to meet your drinking, cooking, and sanitation needs during the COVID-19 emergency, contact Community Water Center at (559) 733-0219 or Blanca Escobedo from Leadership Counsel at (559) 719-0796 or Tami McVay from Self-Help Enterprises (559) 802-1685.

  • COVID-19 CWC Community Resources Fact Sheet: View a list of local and state resources compiled by CWC that are available based on your location, as well as your rights regarding evictions and water shutoffs (Last updated 07/24/2020). 

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants:California is providing one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance. Starting on May 18, 2020, twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations will help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. Email:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Information and Resources for Immigrant Communities in the Central Valley, Compiled by California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) and the Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network: (updated March 23, 2020)

  • Resources For Families Impacted By COVID-19, Compiled by Valley Children's Healthcare:

Governor orders statewide moratorium on water shutoffs

Executive Order N-42-20 Frequently Asked Questions

We joined a coalition of clean water advocates in submitting a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that he implement an immediate statewide moratorium on water shutoffs and to take other immediate emergency steps to maintain and restore access to water in vulnerable communities. The Governor responded to this crisis by ordering a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs on April 2, 2020. You can read our joint statement on the moratorium here.

Our work continues.

We are hearing from small systems that they need urgent support to cover revenue shortfalls in order to be able to maintain continuity of water service. We are also hearing concerns from families that they will be unable to pay if they are hit with large water bills that cover multiple months during the moratorium, and so once again may find themselves at risk of their water being shut off. We are also hearing from residents with unsafe tap water that bottled water is very difficult to find in stores right now. As one example, residents of communities in Tulare County currently lack access to safe water due to a change in the administrator of their state-funded bottled water delivery program, and residents have told us that it has been nearly impossible to find replacement water in local stores. This is proving true for many small communities that depend on corner stores for day to day needs.

Our state must address the long-term challenge of water affordability by creating a statewide low-income rate assistance program for water, just like we have for energy and cell phones.

Coalition to Congress: Fund Critical Water Needs ASAP

In a letter to congressional leaders, Community Water Center joined a diverse coalition of water advocates calling on Congress to fund critical water needs that are impacting Californians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition of nearly 60 organizations, which collectively represents more than 450 California water agencies - and multiple other water and environmental stakeholders - urged Congress to take action on four solutions to meet the immediate and long-term drinking water needs for Californians. Read the press release here.


California must keep small water systems from failing

Visalia Times Delta, May 7, 2020

Americans are told to wash hands to fight coronavirus. But some don’t trust the tap.

Washington Post, May 5, 2020

COVID-19 Worsens Water Crisis for Families in Rural California

Public News Service, April 23, 2020

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Food and Environment Reporting Network, April 22, 2020

Stopping coronavirus requires hand washing.But what happens when your water gets cut off?

Earthjustice/NBC, April 16, 2020

Water advocates advise against bottled water hoarding

The Sun-Gazette, April 15, 2020

For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle

California Health Report, April 14, 2020

Californians won’t have water service turned off for unpaid bills during coronavirus crisis, Newsom says

LA Times, April 2, 2020

Gavin Newsom issues a moratorium on water utility shutoffs during the coronavirus emergency

Sacramento Bee, April 2, 2020

Alarmed over bottled water scarcity, some calling for statewide ban on water shut-offs

Central Coast Public Radio, April 2, 2020

Community Advocates Say Water Shutoff Order Is Good, But Not Enough

Valley Public Radio, April 2, 2020

Advocacy Groups Call for Moratorium on Water Shutoffs Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Epoch Times, April 1, 2020

The U.S. Should Stop Water Shutoffs During the COVID-19 Pandemic - and Forever

Gizmodo, March 20, 2020

The Public Advised to NOT Flush Disinfecting Wipes, Paper Towels down Toilet – Throw Them Away instead

State Water Resources Control Board, March 17, 2020

Contact‌ ‌Us:‌‌ ‌We‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌your‌ ‌concerns‌ ‌are‌ ‌heard‌ ‌by‌ ‌state‌ ‌and‌ ‌local‌ ‌decision-makers.‌ 
Email:‌ ‌‌‌‌Main‌ ‌Phone:‌‌ ‌(559)‌ ‌733-0219‌ ‌
Web:‌ ‌‌‌ ‌‌Twitter:‌‌ ‌@CWaterC‌ ‌‌| Facebook:‌‌ ‌@communitywatercenter‌ 

Related News & Resources

On One-Year Anniversary of SB 200, Water Advocates Urge State to Sustain Progress and Maintain Full Funding for Safe Drinking Water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 23, 2020 Contact: Cristal Gonzalez, Clean Water Action(415) 767-6753, Jerry Jimenez, Community Water Center(408) 219-9636, Tim Douglas, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability(916) 207-8771,

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