Community Water Center

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New factsheet on addressing drought-related needs in California’s most vulnerable communities

CWC Drought Fact Sheet: Addressing Acute Water Shortage Needs for California’s Most Vulnerable Communities

CWC recently completed a fact sheet on acute water shortage needs for California's most vulnerable communities. The document provides key recommendations for California's Administration and Legislature to address critical drought-related issues.  

The three-year period between fall 2011 and fall 2014 was the driest since recordkeeping began in 1895, and recent reports signal that California is headed into its fourth year of drought.1 As debates continue on the duration of the current drought and the extent of the problem for the state as a whole, thousands of Californians -- the majority of whom are living in rural small and disadvantaged communities (DACs) -- are already living in crisis, experiencing complete water loss, or extreme and acute impacts due to increasing water scarcity and groundwater contamination. In the worst cases, communities have run out of water completely and lack both short- and long-term options for addressing their basic water needs.

Immediate, Targeted Actions Needed to Address Drought Crisis Increased emergency drought resources, while critical, have not solved the problem for the smallest, most vulnerable communities. Over the last year, the state has committed significant resources toward droughtrelated water problems statewide, yet small DACs continue to lack the safeguards, tools, and resources to improve their situation. Californians need the Administration and Legislature to take immediate and tailored action to help the increasing number of communities being devastated by this drought. The following recommendations call on the Administration and Legislature to increase technical assistance and financial resources for small DACs, particularly those with no water, contaminated drinking water, and highly vulnerable communities, particularly those served by domestic wells and State Small Water Systems (state smalls).

Recommendations include:

1) Proactive Identification & Data Collection on Acute Needs - Proactively identify highly vulnerable communities and fund and support the collection of accurate data and reporting on the number of people statewide (including those on private wells and state smalls) that have experienced complete household water supply loss or are in imminent danger of running out of water, do not have the resources to pay for increased water costs, or lack reliable access to a safe water source.

2) Target and Expand Emergency Funding to Fit Needs - Fix drought and drinking water eligibility requirements and expand funding sources to target assistance for private well owners and state smalls.

3) Provide Emergency Technical Assistance – Fund additional drought-specific technical assistance and infrastructure funding to assist small communities, including private domestic well owners and state smalls, whose wells have gone dry, to develop both immediate emergency interim solutions and support connection of areas to larger nearby systems.

Read the full factsheet here

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