Community Water Center

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

December 2019 CWLN Newsletter


CWC Hires Water Leadership Strategist for the Community Water Leaders Network

Community Water Leader Network members, I am delighted to join CWC as the Water Leader Strategist. As a former immigrant rights community organizer in Tulare County, I have experienced the joy and challenges that go into organizing the community for change. One thing I learned about community organizing was that being a leader was about lifting others up. After 5 years of organizing immigrant families, I decided to run a victorious campaign for Porterville City Council in 2018. Today, I serve as the youngest elected official in the 117-year city history. 

I know being local representatives serving our community can be challenging at times. My hope is to work together to address those challenges. In my role, I will be coordinating the Community Water Leaders Network. My vision for this network is to create a space in which we can listen to each other, learn, and support one another as public servants. It is a true honor to lead this network and collectively work with you to bring community-driven solutions to our communities.

We know that we have serious challenges ahead of us but I know that by supporting one another through this network we can bring positive change. Today, many of our communities still lack access to safe and affordable drinking water. As local representatives, we have the responsibility to advocate for the needs of the community. This takes both leadership and commitment. Looking forward to 2020, I am excited about the new opportunities for each of us and how the CWLN will be here to support you along the way. I do believe that 2020 will be an incredible year as we look forward to the implementation of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Fund which will provide $130 million in funding for our communities. I look forward to connecting with each of you next year. Wishing you all a wonderful winter break and a Happy New Year!

CWC Hires Legal Fellow

Zach Haydt joined the Community Water Center in September 2019 as a California ChangeLawyers Legal Fellow. Zach is tasked with researching legal policy for sustainable groundwater initiatives and supporting local water boards. 

Zach is originally from Pennsylvania and holds a Bachelor of the Arts in Spanish Literature and Grammar from Temple University in Philadelphia. After studying Spanish in both Spain and Mexico, he moved to Fresno in the middle of the 2014-2017 drought, which dramatically illustrated to him the tenuous nature of the state’s water supply. 

Zach developed a passion for aiding rural families in gaining access to clean drinking water while attending law school at the University of California - Hastings College of the Law. There, he worked with a disadvantaged community in the Salinas Valley in their efforts at taking ownership of their drinking water supply after years of negligent management by a private operator. The strength and resilience of the community inspired him to seek an opportunity to join the struggle for access to safe water in California.

Upon graduation, Zach returned to the Central Valley to fight for the human right of access to safe drinking water. He believes in the Community Water Center Vision that no California family should have to suffer for lack of clean, safe, and affordable drinking water. We are excited about his addition to our team.

CV-SALTS: Central Valley Basin Plan Amendment

The Central Valley Basin Plan Amendments (BPAs) (formerly known as CV-SALTS) are the product of an over a decade long process, led by industries who discharge salts and nitrates, to create a framework on how those very discharges are regulated. The three goals of the BPAs are: 1) provide safe drinking water to those impacted by nitrates, 2) stop continued pollution, and 3) restore degraded groundwater basins. 

Up until about a month before the adoption hearing on October 16th, the language in the BPAs was strongly in favor of protecting nitrate discharger interests over drinking water interests. Thanks to the work of the CalEPA, the State Water Board, and community voices, the Regional Water Board must make significant changes to the BPAs to ensure that the three goals are in fact met. The Regional Board has a year to make the necessary changes and resubmit to the State Water Board. Changes include: pollution must stop within 35 years, ensuring more communities are provided safe and affordable drinking water and preventing management actions that would result in localized areas with higher levels of pollution. 

At the State Water Board meeting, impacted residents from the Central Valley shared their experiences fighting for safe drinking water for themselves, their families, and their neighbors for years and expressed opposition to allowing continued pollution for another 45 years, the timeline that was in the draft State Board resolution. After discussion, the Board voted 3-1 to reduce the timeline to 35 years and voted 4-0 to approve with direction for revisions the BPAs. The BPAs now go to the Office of Administrative Law for approval and the RWB will begin their directed revisions to be resubmitted in approximately January 2021. 

Dischargers must soon begin implementation of the BPAs. Most importantly, they must develop and implement plans for providing emergency and interim solutions to communities impacted by nitrate contamination. Throughout this process, dischargers are required to consult with impacted residents to develop solutions that work best for them and their communities. We will need to guarantee that no community or individual household is overlooked, and ensure that dischargers are held accountable for implementing solutions that work for communities.

Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund 

Right now is an important time to be a part of the conversation about the implementation of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund and how your community can benefit. Between funds included in the 2019-20 state budget and SB 200, which was signed into law by the Governor on July 24, nearly $1.5 billion over the next ten years will be provided for drinking water solutions for low-income Californians. The funding aims to cover long-term, permanent solutions, as well as short-term relief, like bottled water delivery so impacted communities, have safe water now. 

As we move toward implementation, we know success will be measured on the degree to which local leaders and communities are leading solutions in their communities. We invite you to join us to celebrate and share this great victory and to deepen your relationship with the Center, it's allies and partners as we embark on this next phase to getting much-needed drinking water resources to Valley communities. I will be following up with a calendar invite for your convenience.

Drought Shortage Planning 

With climate change, there will be more, longer and more severe droughts putting drinking water supplies at risk of running dry or becoming contaminated. During the last drought, the majority of water systems affected were located in the southern San Joaquin Valley. We have a unique opportunity in 2020 to make sure that California is better prepared for the next drought. 

In January, the Department of Water Resources will deliver their report with recommendations for drought and water shortage planning to the Legislature as required by SB 606/AB1668 (Freidman/Hertzberg, 2018). This report will include a list of small water suppliers and rural communities at risk for vulnerability during a drought and recommendations and guidance for drought and water shortage planning. The recommendations in this report were put together with input from the County Drought Advisory Group (CDAG). The group is made up of a diverse set of external stakeholders, including academia, water districts, environmental justice, and environmental organizations, all committed to making sure that all communities in California are prepared for the next drought.

We believe these recommendations will help improve water shortage and drought planning for small water suppliers and rural communities. Community Water Center, alongside other ally organizations, and leaders like you, will be working to make sure the final recommendations are strong and implemented in a way that ensures all communities can be more water resilient. Stay tuned for more information and ways to get involved in making sure that no one goes without water to meet their basic household and drinking water needs during the next drought.

Updates on the Implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA):

As we wrap up the year Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) will be hosting public hearings to hear from groundwater stakeholders before deciding whether to adopt and submit their draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs). These GSPs have important information about how groundwater will be managed, how much pumping will be allowed to continue, and projects and actions the GSA plans to implement in the next couple of years. 

GSA’s will be submitting their draft plans to the Department of Water Resources (DWR) by January 31, 2019. Between January 31st and March 31st, the public will have another opportunity to share with DWR whether they think the GSPs should be adopted. DWR will have three options as they are reviewing plans: 1) Accept and adopt the plan as is, 2) Conditionally accept the plan as long as GSAs do necessary revisions, and 3) Fail plans that do not have a clear path towards achieving sustainability. If plans are failed, the State Water Resources Control Board will implement a provisionary plan on behalf of GSAs. 

As DWR is reviewing draft GSPs, they will have to consider the Human Right to Water (HR2W) which indicates that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.” GSPs that does not support access to sufficient and affordable quantities of drinking water, or GSPs that impact access to safe drinking water, may require costly and time-consuming revisions prior to approval from DWR, if not an outright failure of the GSP. 

Now is a critical time to participate in public hearings to adopt GSPs to ensure your concerns are being shared and documented. Below is a list of the communities included in several San Joaquin Valley Groundwater Sustainability Agencies and dates for their public hearings. If your community isn’t listed below, you can find your GSA by entering your address here. You and other members of your board will want to make sure your GSA is notifying you once their plan is released so your board can begin reviewing to see how it will impact your community and to provide your GSA recommendations or comments. 


Eastern Tule GSA

Communities included: Ducor, East Porterville, Porterville, Terra Bella, Rodriguez Camp

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date: Monday, December 16th, 2019
  • Time: 2PM. 
  • Location: Porterville City Council Chambers 291 North Main Street Porterville, CA 93257 

Lower Tule River Irrigation District GSA

Communities included: Tipton, Poplar, Woodville

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date: Tuesday, January 14th, 2019
  • Time: 9AM. 
  • Location: 357 E Olive Ave, Tipton, CA 93272

Pixley Irrigation District GSA

Communities included: Pixley and Teviston 

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date: Thursday, January 9th, 2020
  • Time: 9AM.
  • Location: 357 E Olive Ave, Tipton, CA 93272

Tri-County Water Authority

Communities included: Allensworth 

Public hearing to adopt GSP: 

  • Date: Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
  • Time: 1PM. 
  • Location: 944 Whitley Avenue, Corcoran, California, 93212.

Alpaugh GSA

Communities included: Alpaugh

Public hearing to adopt GSP: 

  • Date: Monday, January 13th, 2020
  • Time: 2:30PM. 
  • Location: 5446 Rd. 38, Alpaugh, CA. 

East Kaweah GSA

Communities included: Lindsay, El Rancho, Lindcove, Plainview, Strathmore, Tooleville, Tonyville, Elderwood, Exeter

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date: Monday, December 16th, 2019
  • Time: 3PM. 
  • Location: Lindsay Wellness Center 860 Sequoia Ave Lindsay, Ca 93247

Greater Kaweah GSA

Communities included: Exeter, Farmersville, Woodlake, Ivanhoe, Patterson Tract, Tract 92, Lemon Cove

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date: Monday, December 16th, 2019
  • Time: 10AM.
  • Location: Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, 2975 N. Farmersville Blvd. Farmersville, CA 93223

Mid-Kaweah GSA

Communities included: Tulare, Visalia, Tulare ID, Okieville, Waukena, Matheny Tract 

Public hearing to adopt GSP: 

  • Date: Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
  • Time: 3PM. 
  • Location: Tulare Public Library & Council Chambers, 491 N M Street, Tulare.  

Kings River East GSA

Communities included: Orange Cove, Reedley, Dinuba, Sultana, Monson, Yettem, Seville, Orosi, Cutler, London, Traver 

Public hearing to adopt GSP:

  • Date:Thursday, December 19th, 2019
  • Time: 2-4PM.
  • Location: Dinuba City Hall 405 E. El Monte Way, Dinuba CA 93618

Featured Resource of the Month

Funding Navigation for California Communities 

Funding Navigation for California Communities offers the most prominent funding opportunities for local governments and communities. These resources are available to communities across California and are categorized into eight “Project Types.”By clicking here you will be directed to the Drinking Water Supply & Quality project type. You can navigate through this link to review funding sources related to drinking water.

Drinking Water Settlement Kiosks

Under the settlement agreement signed by a number of growers in the San Joaquin Valley and the State Water Board, growers are required to install and maintain a total of 8 drinking water kiosks across portions of Tulare, Kings, and southern Fresno counties (see picture below). The first three kiosks were supposed to be installed by April 30th, however, due to issues with finding acceptable locations and State Water Board Division of Drinking Water permitting requirements, none of the kiosks are currently in place. Growers were granted an extension until September 30th to get the first three kiosks installed with the remaining kiosks to remain on the original schedule (three more by October 1st, and the final two by January 31st, 2020). As of now, there is only one potential site that is somewhat confirmed in Farmersville. If your water district would be willing to host a kiosk please reach out to Debi Ores ( and she can put you in contact with the appropriate parties. 


Upcoming events


EVENT: Save the Date for CWC’s Water Justice Leadership Awards in Sacramento

DATE: Feb 19, 2019 

LOCATION: Mayahuel Restaurant, 1200 K St Sacramento, CA 95814

TIME: 5:30-8PM

DESCRIPTION: This is a great opportunity to network with key state leaders from Gov. Newsom’s administration and legislative leaders who are standing up for water justice in Sacramento.



EVENT: Water 101 Workshop: The Basics and Beyond 

DATE: Workshop scheduled for Feb. 20 in Sacramento with optional tour Feb. 21. 

LOCATION: Lecture Hall at McGeorge School of Law, 3327 5th Ave., Sacramento, CA, 95817

DESCRIPTION: The Water Education Foundation’s Water 101 Workshop, one of our most popular events, offers attendees the opportunity to deepen their understanding of California’s water history, laws, geography, and politics.

Taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state, the one-day workshop is scheduled for Thursday, February 20 and will also cover the latest on the most compelling issues in California water. Click here to register! 

Cost: Feb. 20 Workshop Only: $249 and includes lunch, coffee breaks, materials and reception following the workshop. Feb. 20 Workshop and Feb. 21 Tour: $465 and includes lunch on the first day, coffee breaks, materials and reception following the workshop. During the tour, it includes lunch, snacks, drinks, and materials. 

Scholarships: We have a limited number of scholarships to fund a portion of the registration for the Feb. 20 workshop. Contact Andrea Sproul for an application.


EVENT: Consumer Confidence Reports 

DATE: 3/25/2020 10AM - 12PM  & 3/25/2020 2PM - 4PM 


DESCRIPTION: Informing your customers yearly about the sources and quality of your water became a state and federal mandate with the 1996 SDWA amendments and electronic delivery of Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) became allowable in 2012. The exact format and language required for doing so can be confusing, especially for operators and managers of small systems. This workshop will guide participants through the step-by-step process of producing a CCR for their water system for the calendar year 2013. You will learn delivery options of the CCR, information required to be included in a CCR, and how to use the resources available to produce a CCR. This workshop is designed for anyone tasked with producing or reviewing this annual report to ensure compliance.

You will need: System and staff contact information, Type of water source and location(s), All water quality monitoring results for 2015, Previous years’ CCR, Public relations information (important accomplishments for 2015, emerging issues, etc.) The recommended audience for this workshop is anyone who has responsibility for producing and disseminating CCRs, or gathering the data necessary for its completion. Click here to register!

Cost: Free

For questions or concerns, please contact Daniel Peñaloza at 559-736-9499 or


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