Community Water Center

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

July 2018 eNews

July 2018

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

Dear Friend,

Looking for a way to get involved in the water justice movement? One way to support local drinking water solutions is to run for election to your local water board. Water supplies in many communities throughout the state are managed and distributed by democratically elected local water boards. In fact, in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties alone, there are over 109 local water boards -- the majority of which have not held an election due to lack of candidates the last four years. This is an excellent way to be directly involved in ensuring the Human Right to Water is a reality in California.

Another way to take action for safe water requires less than five minutes! Call your California legislators today and let them know you want them to prioritize a solution to the state’s drinking water crisis this legislative session.

Together, we can ensure ALL Californian’s have access to safe, clean and affordable water.

Susana and Laurel gray divider

File to run in your local water board election by August 10th

Hundreds of residents in unincorporated communities are served water by publicly-elected local water boards.There are many types of local water agencies that manage water, such as Community Services Districts, Public Utilities District, Irrigation Districts, and more. These local water boards typically have five board members that each serve on the board for four year terms. Board members are responsible for overseeing planning, funding, and project implementation to secure safe drinking water, setting fair water rates, and holding public meetings for the community.

If you are interested in making a change in your community by serving on your local water board, there are two easy steps to start the process:

1) Contact your local county elections office to verify that the address where you are registered to vote is within the district you are running for.

2) Go to your county’s elections office to sign the candidacy forms in-person under the supervision of the county elections office clerk.

All paperwork must be submitted between the dates of July 16th--August 10th in order to be on the ballot for the election. To learn more about your local water board election and to help additional information on how to run, check out our resource page here or contact Adriana Renteria at (559) 733-0219 or who will help you through the process.

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Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

The Human Right to Water will not be achieved in California until a permanent source of funding is available to ensure that all families have clean water, both now, and for future generations. Over the past few weeks, we have been working closely with the Governor's office and the legislature to continue this historic campaign to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

As the legislature's summer recess gets into full swing, legislators are back in their districts, paying attention to the issues that voters care about and bring to their attention. We need YOUR help in continuing to spread the message to your friends and family that we can't wait another year for a solution to this drinking water crisis and that this issue is a priority for you.

Will you share the posts below on Facebook and Twitter?

Sample text for Facebook post

More than 300 communities and one million Californians are exposed to polluted drinking water coming out of the taps in their homes, schools, and communities each year. This crisis has gone on for too long, and we finally have the chance to solve it. Learn more about the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund and how you can get involved in the movement for safe, clean and affordable water for ALL Californians:

Sample text for Twitter post

More than 1 million Californians are exposed to polluted drinking water each year. This crisis has gone on for too long, and we finally have the chance to solve it. Learn more about the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund: #NoToxicTaps

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1,2,3 - TCP

1,2,3-trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) is a man-made carcinogenic chemical that was added unnecessarily to a fumigant used in agriculture for many decades. Humans are exposed through ingestion of contaminated water or even by breathing in contaminated steam. The State of California recognized 1,2,3-TCP as a cancer-causing chemical present in drinking water in 1992, but took no action until Community Water Center and allies advocated for an enforceable standard. Without such a standard, public utilities didn’t have to test for the chemical, filter it out, or even advise their customers if it was in the water. On December 14, 2017, the California Water Resources Control Board adopted a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for 1,2,3-TCP of 5 parts per trillion, the minimum level that this chemical can be detected with current testing technology, known as the detection level. Such a stringent standard reflects the state’s recognition of 1,2,3-TCP’s toxicity.

Public water systems are now required to test monthly for 1,2,3-TCP in their drinking water sources. Sampling began in January 2018, and the first quarterly results are alarming--388 drinking water sources exceeded the 1,2,3-TCP detection level during the first quarter of 2018. Of these, 253 contaminated drinking water systems remain in use and untreated for 1,2,3-TCP. Sites range throughout the state, from Del Norte County to San Diego County, but they are concentrated in the San Joaquin Valley. The State Water Board’s first quarter report acknowledges a clear correlation between the location of the drinking water sources that exceed the 1,2,3-TCP MCL and agricultural/industrial areas.

If you use a private well near one of the identified areas on the map, it is a good idea to get your water tested. For more information about 1,2,3-TCP contact Debi Ores at 916-706-3346 or

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Two new staff members join the CWC team!

We are excited to welcome Heather Lukacs, PhD to the CWC team this month! Heather Lukacs returns to the Center as our Director of Community Solutions. Previously, Heather was a CWC Project Director and led CWC’s interim solution projects to address drinking water challenges in the San Joaquin Valley including the Agua4All campaign, a partnership to bring safe and affordable drinking water to schools, parks, and community buildings in South Kern County, as well as the development and implementation of a community-based private well testing program.

We are also excited to have Maria Rivera join us as our new Program Associate in the Sacramento office. Both her skills and her passion for ensuring all Californians have safe and affordable water make her an excellent fit to help us to continue to grow our capacity for water justice work.

The CWC team in both our Visalia and Sacramento offices are also looking for interns to join us this fall! Our fast-paced internships allow students to learn first hand what environmental justice work entails, with a focus on organizing, communications or data entry -- depending on the position. If interested, please send your resume and a letter of interest to Kelsey at

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Los Angeles Times: California, the world's fifth-largest economy, has a Third World drinking water problem. Excellent editorial by the Los Angeles Times, which highlights why passing the Governor’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is a no-brainer for California.

San Francisco Chronicle: Clean water left unfunded in California budget. The SF Chronicle editorial board wrote: "California has long recognized the problem. Now it needs to take serious steps to solve it."

La Opinión: Más de un millón vive sin agua limpia. Dolores Huerta took the time to author a powerful op-ed on why the legislature must pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund!

News Deeply: Time for California to Deliver on the Human Right to Water. Léo Heller, the United Nations special rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, urges the legislature to pass the Governor’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in this op-ed for Water Deeply.

CWC'S RECENT NEWS COVERAGE. CWC's work has been featured in Telemundo, The Sacramento Bee, Univision, the Los Angeles Times and many other outlets recently. Check out our blog to stay up to date!

Be sure to check out our Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Stories blog. Over the past year, our fellow Charlotte interviewed twelve residents from different communities in the San Joaquin Valley that have struggled to access safe and affordable drinking water. See their stories here.
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JULY 31, 6:30-8:00 PM. Northern Tulare County Public Meeting. Orosi Memorial Hall (41645 Rd 128, Orosi, CA). We will be providing an update on the Northern Tulare County Regional Water Alliance Joint Powers Agency and discuss project options and how to get involved. Please contact Ryan Jensen at 559-733-0219 or for more information.

AUG 17, 6-8 PM. Porterville United for Justice Community Meeting. Doyle Elementary School (1045 E Orange Ave, Porterville, CA). We will be providing an overview of Porterville’s Consumer Confidence Report and updates from Porterville United for Justice group. Please contact Karina Gallardo at 559-733-0219 or for more information.

JULY 16 - AUG 10. Water Board Election Filing Window is Open. Submit the appropriate paperwork to your county within this period of time to run for election for your local water board this November. If you have questions, check out our water board elections resource page or reach out to Adriana Renteria at or (559) 733-0219.

OCT 11, 5:30-8PM. Annual Visalia Celebration. Café 210 (210 West Center Avenue, Visalia, CA). Save the Date for our annual CWC celebration in Visalia! More information to follow.

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  • $9.5 Million is Available for Drinking Water in Schools! If your school is a small, disadvantaged community, apply as soon as possible before the June 30 deadline. This funding may be used to install water bottle filling stations or drinking water fountains. It can also be used 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. You can also contact CWC at 559-733-0219 or Rural Community Assistance Corporation at for more information.
  • Funding available for water systems impacted by 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+ 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, funding sources at the state are available for eligible entities. The primary funding source is the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The Prop 1 Groundwater Grant Fund is a secondary option to cover instances 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.
  • Do you know if your water is safe to drink? Check out our bilingual Water FAQ page to see what steps you can take to find out what is in the water coming out of your tap.
  • Check out additional resources and stories in the most recent newsletter from the Office of Sustainable Water Solutions.The newsletter is available in both English and Spanish. CWC worked hard to advocate for the creation of the Office, which promotes permanent and sustainable drinking water and wastewater solutions in California’s most vulnerable communities.

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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 for all Californians!

Amy Helfant, Anavel Valdez, Benigna Hernandez, Bill Walker, Brad Coffey, Bryan Barnhart, Carly Yoshida, Cassie Morgan, Edward Bergtholdt, Jill Ratner, Kavita Vora, Kelsey Hinton, Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Nimmi Damodaran, Paul Pierce and Patience Milrod, and Renata Brillinger

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

Bonnie Goldstein, Colleen Reid, Diana Gonz, Dieter Rutzen, Jacques Vroom, Joya Banerjee, Julie Mersch, Lisa Brown, Peter and Carole Clum

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

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