Community Water Center

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

February 2020 eNews

February 2020

Si prefiere recibir nuestro boletín informativo en español, haga click aquí.


Dear Friend,

It's been a busy month!

  • We partnered with Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg on new drought legislation.

  • We supported the Tulare County Board of Supervisors in calling for action in getting the East Orosi community access to safe and clean water.

  • About 200 people joined the launch of our interactive Drinking Water Tool!

  • And we added new CWC team members!

Save the date for the 6th Annual Water Justice Leadership Awards taking place on March 10th in Sacramento. We’ll be recognizing leaders who have worked tirelessly to make the human right to water a reality for all Californians.

See below for more information.


Susana De Anda

CWC in the news!

People en Español: Activist Susana de Anda on Environmental Racism and Her Fight for Safe Drinking Water. Susana De Anda, the co-founder and executive director of California's Community Water Center, talks about her mission to provide safe drinking water to low-income Latinx families in the state.

Capital Public Radio: California May Be Sliding Back Into Drought, Lawmakers And Advocates Warn Now Is The Time To PrepareNew federal data show that California may be sliding back into drought, just as the Legislature is starting to pursue ways to make sure residents are prepared for water shortages.

KSBW 8: New online interactive tool helps Californians prepare for future drought. This rain-year has brought an alarmingly dry winter in California so far, according to climate change experts. Now, there's a new tool to help Californians navigate your water supply.

Capital and Main: As Droughts Ebb, California’s Water Issues RemainLast July 27 was a big day for Cristobal Chavez. That’s when the 62-year-old, who lives on a small farm outside Porterville in Tulare County, met California Governor Gavin Newsom. New CWC Drinking Water Tool to Prepare for the Next DroughtHere’s a fact: California WILL experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change. This will cause drinking water supplies for vulnerable communities to run dry or become contaminated — and as a result will directly threaten California’s ability to secure access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. That’s why the Community Water Center has created a NEW interactive drinking water web tool!

Foothills Sun-Gazette: Online tool assesses drought risk for residents on private wells, public water systemsCalifornia is doing more to preserve its groundwater levels than ever before, but a new, interactive tool by a local water advocacy group suggests it may not be enough.

See the latest CWC news coverage here.

Upcoming Events - Come join us!

Tuesday, March 10th at 5:30 pm - 6th Annual Water Justice Leadership Awards
Join us in Sacramento for the 6th Annual Water Justice Leadership Awards. We’ll honor water justice leaders for their leadership to make the human right to water a reality. This event will be an opportunity to recognize leaders who have worked tirelessly, often against great odds, to ensure the human right of safe drinking water in California.

This year, we are proud to share this year’s honorees, which include: 

  • Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency, on behalf of the Newsom Administration
  • Melynda Metheney, member of the AGUA Coalition, and West Goshen community leader
  • Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia

If your organization is interested in sponsoring this event, please see our sponsorship opportunities here and contact Natalie Garcia-Grazier, our Director of Strategic Partnerships at (559) 301-8224 or All sponsors receive complimentary tickets to the event, their logo on event materials and shout outs via email and social media!

April 3- 5, 2020. CWC invites you to experience The Water Project. A powerful collaboration between five departments at Santa Clara University, The Water Project integrates dance, choral music, animation, and projected imagery. The Water Project explores all things water: its sacred essence and beauty, its positive and destructive power, and humanity’s role in controlling and commodifying water. This performance addresses our strong reliance on water and the impending crisis that could impact life as we know it today. Our Community Organizer, Mayra Hernandez, will join a panel following the April 4 presentation to discuss water quality issues with the audience. More info here

April 2020 - Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group Meeting
To be held in the Southern California Area. Date, time, and location to be determined.

Tulare County BOS urges State Water Board to help East Orosi families get safe, clean drinking water

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors on Feb. 11 approved sending a letter to the State Water Board in support of moving a long-overdue water consolidation project forward, which would provide badly needed safe drinking water to the East Orosi community.

East Orosi is an unincorporated community of Tulare County of about 700 people, who are mostly low-income Latino families. Their drinking water system has received recurring violations for unsafe levels of nitrates and bacteria for years, and a long-pending solution to consolidate their water source with neighboring Orosi Public Utilities District (OPUD) has seen little to no action.

"East Orosi has been without access to safe drinking water for far too long,” said Tulare County Supervisor Eddie Valero (District 4). “The solution is clear. Engineers evaluated the alternatives and recommended consolidation as the most practical and sustainable solution in 2017. State Water Board notice of intent to consolidate these two systems was given in 2018 and the community is still waiting, almost two years later, with little to no evident progress. I felt that it was important for Tulare County to weigh in on the need for the State to take action to overcome this lack of progress and commit to be a partner in the process of bringing reliable drinking water service to the community of East Orosi."

Nydia Medina, Orosi resident and member of La Voz de Vecinos Unidos, voiced her support for moving the consolidation forward at the board of supervisors meeting.

"I am a member of La Voz de Vecinos Unidos, a community group formed by members of East Orosi, Orosi, Dinuba, Cutler, and other communities in the area,” Medina said. “Today I am here to thank the Board of Supervisors for their support to the community of East Orosi to have clean and safe water. Every human being should have this right. Thank you and I look forward to your support."

Read the letter here.

Earlier this month, the first Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Advisory Group (Advisory Group) meeting took place. This meeting marks an important milestone for the implementation of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. The Advisory Group will advise the Board in developing a fund expenditure plan and other key policies.

CWC was in attendance, along with community members Lucy Hernandez and Horacio Amezquita. Lucy from AGUA Coalition and Horacio from San Jerardo Cooperative Inc. were selected as two of the 19 members of the Advisory Group! Their leadership will help identify needs & community priorities for the Fund. We look forward to attending future meetings in order to ensure that the vision of the Fund to secure safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians is achieved.

Senate Majority Leader Hertzberg proposes law to protect access to clean drinking water
for the next big drought

Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) introduced legislation on Feb. 11 that would help ensure safe, clean, and affordable drinking water for vulnerable communities at risk of being impacted when the next drought hits.

During the 2012-2016 drought, almost 12,000 Californians ran out of water. That historic drought served as an alarming indicator of California’s warmer future, and we expect droughts to continue to increase in severity and frequency, especially in rural communities throughout California, including the hard-hit Central Valley. 

Hertzberg’s bill (SB 971) would facilitate better coordination and drought preparedness for small and rural communities and water suppliers by making various changes to their local drought and water shortage contingency plans. This includes integrating proactive drought planning as part of key existing county planning processes. The legislation would also implement new state measures designed to better plan and support drought resilience for small water systems.

Droughts impact low-income, small and rural communities the hardest,” said Susana De Anda, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Community Water Center, which is co-sponsoring the bill along with the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA). “There’s this gap of drinking water accessibility that needs to be closed. That’s why this bill is so critical. It will require California to bridge the drinking water gap by having plans in place for vulnerable communities throughout the state, including the Central Valley. We applaud Senator Hertzberg for standing up for clean drinking water for all Californians,” De Anda added. “Water is a human right. All Californians must have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.”

TAKE ACTION: Send a letter of support to help ensure drought planning policies benefit communities most at risk and to prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water. Visit:

200 people join launch of CWC's new Drinking Water Tool

Nearly 200 people joined the launch of Community Water Center’s new Drinking Water Tool on Feb. 12!

People viewed the launch online and joined in person in our Visalia, Watsonville, and Visalia offices.

Did you miss it? Download the webinar and watch it here.

CWC designed the interactive web tool to help California prepare for the next drought.

California will experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change. This will cause drinking water supplies for vulnerable communities to run dry or become contaminated, directly threatening California’s ability to secure safe and affordable drinking water for all.

The Drinking Water Tool is a web-based application that will help you learn: 

  • Where your water comes from based on your address
  • Whether a future drought could impact your drinking water supply
  • About the groundwater quality and supply in your area
  • How to advocate for safe, clean and affordable drinking water
  • How to compare information about your water with your local Groundwater Sustainability Plan

Thank you to UC Berkeley Water Equity and Science Shop (WESS) and special thanks to Dr. Claire Pace, Dr. Amanda Fencl, and Dr. Rob Gailey for their partnership on this project.

Learn more here:


CWC urges more community outreach at SAFER Drinking Water Advisory Group meeting

Community Water Center participated in the second SAFER Drinking Water Advisory Group meeting, held on February 19 in Fresno, along with multiple community members -- including AGUA member Lucy Hernandez and Horacio Amezquita with San Jerardo Cooperative, both Advisory Committee members.

CWC urged the State Water Board to consider holding community workshops with, for example, the AGUA coalition. CWC also reinforced the continued need for community engagement and language accessibility as the Board moves forward with implementation of the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program, formerly referred to as the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

The SAFER advisory group provides the State Water Board with constructive advice and feedback on the expenditure plan and other related policies and analyses. 

As Regional Water Manager at Community Water Center, Adriana supported efforts to increase access to safe and affordable water for disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin by working with local water board leaders, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs), and Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) groups to support regional planning efforts.

Earlier this month, Adriana transitioned out of her role and will be joining the State Water Board as Director of the Office of Public Participation. There, she will lead efforts at involving the public in the Board’s decision-making processes and ensure all interested parties can participate in Water Board activities.


New CWC team members!

We are excited to introduce our new team member! Reyna Gabriel-Peralta joined the Watsonville team this month as a Community Organizer. Check out her bio and give her a warm welcome!

CWC hired 10 canvassers (not all pictured) to contact thousands of Latinx voters from unincorporated and rural Tulare County about implementing the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program AND ensuring that they get counted in the U.S. Census. Welcome to the team!

 Do you want to join our team? CWC is hiring!

Complete job descriptions and more information on how to apply, please visit:
Current openings:

Community Solutions Coordinator - Visalia Office

The Community Solutions Coordinator is a full-time exempt position that will be primarily responsible for providing technical support, analysis, and resources to assist communities in making informed decisions on the best drinking water technical solution(s) for their needs.

Organizing Manager - Visalia Office

The Organizing Manager position is a full-time, exempt employee position that will be primarily responsible for leading CWC’s organizing, education, outreach strategies and activities to support the implementation of community-driven water solutions in the Southern San Joaquin Valley.
Community Organizer - Visalia Office

The Community Organizer position is a regular, full-time, exempt employee position that will be primarily responsible for conducting CWC’s organizing and base-building work in communities in the San Joaquin Valley. This position will report directly to the CWC Director of Organizing and will work closely with other CWC staff, community partners and allies. 
Regional Water Manager - Visalia Office

The Regional Water Manager will lead CWC’s regional water management planning, policy and program development to achieve sustainable and affordable drinking water solutions in low-income communities and communities of color. The Regional Water Manager will report to the Policy Director and also work closely with the Executive Director other staff, people directly impacted by drinking water issues, members of partner organizations and agencies, other stakeholders impacted by groundwater management including representatives from industry, and various interns. This is a full-time, exempt position.
Fund Development Coordinator - Watsonville Office

The Fund Development Associate is primarily responsible for the implementation of organizational and fund development activities from the Watsonville office. This position will require occasional travel and ability to work evenings and weekends to accommodate fundraising activities, such as events, funder tours and funder deadlines. This position reports to the Director of Strategic Partnerships and other CWC personnel, independent contractors, allies and vendors. This is a regular, exempt, full-time, salary position.
Senior Policy Advocate - Sacramento Office

The Senior Policy Advocate will be responsible for leading policy advocacy campaigns designed to address root causes of unsafe drinking water by advancing community-driven legislative, regulatory, and policy changes. This is a regular, exempt, full-time, salary position. This position reports to the Policy Director and is based out of CWC’s Sacramento office.

Resources and announcements


  • Funding available for water systems impacted by 1,2,3-TCP. On December 14, 2017, the State Water Board approved an early effective date for the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP). In order to obtain cost recovery for your impacted system, you need to obtain legal representation in order to sue the responsible parties, Shell and Dow Chemicals, for 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Litigation can take anywhere from a year to more than three years, so if you are impacted by 1-2-3 TCP and are in need of financial assistance to come into compliance with the new MCL, there are funding sources at the state available for eligible entities. The primary funding source is the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), and the Prop 1 Groundwater Grant Fund is also a secondary option to cover instances where the DWSRF doesn’t cover. In order to qualify for state funding sources you will likely be required to show you are initiating efforts to recover costs from the responsible parties. For any questions, contact the State Water Resources Control Board.


We hope these resources support your involvement in groundwater planning. If you are new to the SGMA process, there is still time to get involved. Click here for a step-by-step process for how to get involved in your local area. 


Thank you to our generous supporters! 

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, Benigna Hernandez, Bessma Mourad, Bryan Barnhart, Carly Yoshida, David Weinsoff, Edward Bergtholdt, Ellen Rowe, Frank Lukacs, Jill Ratner, Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, Julian De Anda, Kathryn Wuelfing, Kavita Vora, Kelsey Hinton, Kristin Dobbin, Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Paul Pierce, Sandra Hocker, Tom Biglione, and Vicente Guerrero.

And thank you to our generous donors for the month of February!

Tim Stroshane, Morgan Jones, and Marlene Dehlinger


If you would like to donate to CWC, please click here!