Community Water Center

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

February 2019 eNews

February 2019

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


Dear Friend,

Yesterday, CWC’s Co-Founder and my Co-Director Laurel Firestone was appointed to the State Water Resources Control Board. She will serve as a member of the board for the next four years. Although we are sad to have her leave CWC in her official capacity, we know that her dedication to environmental justice will be an excellent addition to this statewide decision making body. Laurel will continue in la lucha for safe and affordable drinking water for ALL, alongside our communities and the CWC familia.

I have now stepped into my new role as Executive Director of Community Water Center and could not be more excited for what’s to come both for the Center and for water justice in California.


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CWC in the news

Politifact: TRUE: ‘More than a million Californians’ don’t have clean drinking water … It could be higher. Read this story for a overview of where the one million statistic comes from and why experts believe it to be an underestimate for those without safe water in CA.

Sacramento Bee: Californians with bad water ask for help while opposition mounts to Newsom’s proposed tax. SJV community members traveled to Sacramento to attend an informational hearing on the state’s drinking water crisis, where Susana was asked to serve as an expert witness.

Peak Design: Southern Sierra Activism - The locals protecting California air, land, and water. Private well owner and AGUA member Cristobal Chavez is featured.

See the latest CWC news coverage here.

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First central coast cbo formed!

Last Friday, community residents in Northern Monterey County of Bluff, Jensen and Springfield roads came together to form the first community based organization (CBO) in the Central Coast! CBOs provide community residents impacted by lack of safe water a structure to meet regularly and strategize for long-term solutions for their families. The Comité para tener agua sana, limpia, y economica (Committee for Safe, Clean and Affordable Water) will work to ensure that all homes and schools have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. The Comité will focus their organizing on solutions for water contamination in their communities including nitrate levels found at six times the legal limit and other contaminants like 1,2,3 TCP and Chrom-6. They are already organizing around the local elementary school, working to obtain safe bottled water for all students and staff.

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Fight for Safe and Affordable Water Continues

Discussions around solving California’s drinking water crisis continued in February both at the state Capitol and the US Capitol.

On February 6th, San Joaquin Valley residents shared their experience with unsafe water at an informational hearing on the state’s drinking water crisis and ways to solve it. Susana served as an expert witness at the hearing, alongside Department of Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crawfoot, and State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquival.

Later in the month, CWC’s Policy Director Jonathan Nelson traveled to Washington D.C. to inform Congress on California’s drinking water crisis and what solutions are needed  with the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. See video of his testimony here!

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Join us in Berkeley on April 3rd!

In partnership with the Sierra Club of California and the David Brower Center, we are hosting a free educational event on California’s drinking water crisis. Join us for an insightful discussion with a panel of experts on this issue and how we can solve it together. A reception with food and drink to follow!


If your organization is interested in sponsoring this event, please see our sponsorship opportunities here and email Natalie Garcia-Grazier, our Director of Strategic Partnerships. All sponsors receive complimentary tickets to the event and their logo on event materials!

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5th Annual Water Justice Leadership Awards

Thank you to everyone who came out last week to join us in honoring three water justice champions for their dedication to safe and affordable water for all! We had a blast connecting with community members, ally partners, supporters and government officials at Mayahuel. See pictures from the event here!

A special thank you to our Premier Water Justice Sponsors California Water Service and Robins Borghei, LLC as well as the rest of our 2019 WJLA sponsors! This event would not be possible without all of you and you helped raise more than $50,000 for the movement for water justice!

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Help us Design our New Website!

CWC is currently conducting a website redesign this year. It's been around four years since we designed our current site here. We would like to develop a website that has a simpler, cleaner design and that also has content created specifically in Spanish/English for our community partners’ advocacy and organizing work.

To prepare for the update, we are asking key stakeholders. like you, to complete a 3 minute survey to get feedback on our current site and what you would like to see in a redesign. See the survey here. We really appreciate you taking the time to give us feedback on this redesign!

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

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

Current openings:

Legal Fellow - With support from California ChangeLawyers, CWC is looking for a full-time, year-long Legal Fellow to provide legal assistance to communities without safe water and local water board members; create and update resources for community members and legal practitioners regarding drinking water governance and advocacy; and provide legal and advocacy support for other CWC programs as needed. This position will be based in CWC’s headquarters in Visalia, California. The Legal Fellow will also work with the UC Davis School of Law Aoki Water Justice Clinic to create materials that can be used by water board members and service providers that train and assist local water boards. If you have any questions, please contact Debi Ores at

Program Associate - Sacramento Office
The Program Associate is primarily responsible for providing organizational,  communications, fund development and other programmatic support based in the Sacramento office. This position reports to the Communications Manager and will also work closely with the Director of Strategic Partnerships, other CWC personnel, independent contractors, allies and vendors. This is a regular, exempt, full-time, salary position. If you have any questions, please contact Kelsey Hinton at

Program Associate - Visalia Office
The Program Associate is primarily responsible for providing clerical and program support from the Visalia office. This position reports to the Director of Operations and will also work closely with other CWC personnel, independent contractors, allies and vendors. The Program Associate opportunity can be a part-time or full-time position.  If you have any questions, please contact Anavel Valdez-Lupercio at

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MAR 6, 9 AM-3 PM. Equity on the Mall. California State Capitol (1315 10th St, Sacramento, CA 95814). Thousands of San Joaquin Valley residents will travel to Sacramento next week to advocate for healthier and more equitable communities. Please contact Erica Fernandez at (559) 733-0219 or for more information.

MAR 11, 5-7 PM. AGUA Coalition Meeting. CWC Visalia Office, 900 W. Oak Ave., Visalia, CA 93291. Please contact Karina Gallardo at (559) 733-0219 or for more information.

MAR 12, 5:30-7:30 PM. Terra Bella Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Community Workshop. Veterans Memorial Building (23941 Avenue 95 Terra Bella, California 93270). Please contact Ryan Jensen at (559) 733-0219 or for more information.

MAR 26, 5:30-7:30 PM. Porterville Eastern Tule Groundwater Sustainability Agency Community Workshop. Comision Honorifica Mexicana Americana (CHMA) (466 E. Putnam Avenue Porterville, California 93257). Please contact Ryan Jensen at (559) 733-0219 or for more information.

APR 3, 6-9 PM. Brower Center Educational Event (2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94704). This free event will provide an overview of California’s drinking water crisis impacting more than one million people. This event is in response to feedback from Californians from all parts of the state who said that they don’t know that contaminated drinking water was an issue in California. RSVP here.

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  • $9.5 Million Available for Drinking Water in Schools which may be used to install water bottle filling stations or drinking water fountains, and for interim water supplies and treatment devices for schools where contamination is an issue. If your school or district is interested in learning more about this exciting new opportunity to improve student access to safe drinking water you can access the guidelines and application here or contact Kim Hanagan, State Water Resources Control Board at (916) 323-0624. The application deadline for the grant program is March 1, 2019.
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation was selected by the State Water Resources Control Board to provide technical assistance during the grant application and implementation period. Contact them at for more information.

  • 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 3 or more 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.
  • Funding for Water and Energy Audits: Application and Instructions. More details on the CWSRF.

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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, Benigna Hernandez, Bill Walker, Brandon Hill, Bryan Barnhart, Carly Yoshida, Cassie Morgan, David & Idie Weinsoff, Edward Bergtholdt, Ellen Rowe, Frank Lukacs, Jill Ratner, Julian De Anda, Kavita Vora, Kat Wuelfing, Kelsey Hinton, Kristin Dobbin,

Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Nimmi Damodaran, Paul Pierce & Patience Milrod, Renata Brillinger, Sandra Hocker, Vicki Woods

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

Bharath Kumar, Geoff Eisenberg, Jennifer Harder, Justin Malan, Max Gomberg, Nikki Paschal, Paul Boyer,  Sister Jean Schafer, Tina Leahy

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

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