Community Water Center

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

July 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: Thursday, May 24th from 4-5PM  

Network “briefings” are monthly conference calls that provide members the opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. To join, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.


Save the date for Somos el Poder y el Cambio—  We are the Power and the Change!

WHEN: October 11, 2018 at 5:30pm

WHERE: Café 210  210 W Center Ave, Visalia, CA 93291


Local water board elections

July 16th was the first day of the filing window for registering to be a candidate for your local water board election. The last day to file your paperwork to be a candidate is Friday, August 10th. Is your term up for election this year? If so, have you filed for candidacy yet? Do you have friends that may be interested in running this year?

Community Water Center has created a webpage with information about local water boards and information on the process for running in an election. Our goal with this resource is to help share information on local water boards, to encourage community members to run for a seat themselves, and to then support new water board members through the Community Water Leaders Network.

On our webpage you will find information on:

  • Local water boards and the process for running to be on your local water board
  • Contact information for county elections offices
  • The number of seats local water boards have up for election this year

Visit www.communitywatercenter.org/water_board_elections to learn more about local water boards. Feel free to share this with your network or connect interested folks with Adriana Renteria.


1,2,3-TCP 1st quarter sampling results

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), which is the cancer causing chemical that has caused contamination of California soil since the 80s due to extensive application of soil fumigants manufactured by Dow and Shell Chemicals. Water systems were required to start quarterly monitoring for 1,2,3-TCP in the calendar quarter beginning January 2018 and the State Water Board has released the results of the first quarter of sampling.  

Figure 3 above shows the results of the different water sources and how they are distributed in the 23 counties. The bars show how many of the water sources in the counties have 1,2,3-TCP water samples that fall within the four ranges of contamination they have identified. The orange bars show water systems that had 1,2,3-TCP samples that were between 5-10 parts per trillion. The yellow bars show water systems that had samples that were between 10-15 parts per trillion the green bars show samples that were between 15-20 parts per trillion and the dark red bars show samples that were higher than 20 parts per trillion. The maximum contaminant level (MCL) for 1,2,3-TCP is 5 parts per trillion and this chart shows us that many water systems have levels that exceed that MCL. This chart also shows that there is correlation between drinking water sources that are impacted by 1,2,3-TCP and agricultural and industrial areas.  Most of the drinking water sources that are impacted by 1,2,3-TCP are in the Central Valley where 1,2,3-TCP was used for agricultural use.

If your system is impacted by  1,2,3-TCP, in order to obtain cost recovery your system needs to obtain legal representation in order to sue the responsible parties, Shell and Dow Chemicals, for  1,2,3-TCP contamination. Robins Borghei LLP is the primary law firm litigating 1,2,3-TCP cases and has a strong track record in winning cases on behalf of communities dealing with  1,2,3-TCP contamination. For any questions regarding 1,2,3-TCP contamination, contact the State Water Resources Control Board. Read the full report here: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/documents/123-tcp/123_tcp_sampling_q1_2018.pdf


New drinking water notification levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) &  perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS)

PFOA and PFOS are man-made chemicals that were created for water resistance. PFOA & PFOS have been used in products like carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and cookware designed to be waterproof, stain-resistant or non-stick. Though people are mainly exposed to these chemicals through household products, these chemicals can also accumulate in the groundwater in localized areas near manufacturing facilities and people can be exposed to them through drinking water. Exposure to PFOA and PFOS can cause certain health impacts including impacting the development of fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed infants, cancer (kidney or testicular), liver damage, immune effects, and other impacts. Starting in 2000, manufacturers of PFOA and PFOS started phasing out the production of these chemicals.

Based on the cancer risks and impacts to liver toxicity, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has recommended an interim notification level (NLs) for PFOS and PFOA. The Division of Drinking Water (DDW) then established a notification level of 13 part per trillion for PFOS and 14 parts per trillion for PFOA. Notification levels (NLs) are different than maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). Notification levels are health-based advisory levels for chemicals that don’t have maximum contaminant levels. When a drinking water system has chemicals past a certain level called the “response level” then that drinking water system should take the drinking water source out of service. The response level for PFOA and PFOS combined is 70 parts per trillion. Drinking water systems are not currently required to monitor for PFOA or PFOS. Some water systems that are concerned about possible contamination have voluntarily chosen to sample their supplies for PFOA and PFOS. To read the announcement, visit: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/PFOA_PFOS.html


Supporting Prop 3 the November Water Bond

Prop 3 is a water bond on the November ballot that contains historic levels of funding that would greatly support Central Valley communities. There is a tremendous need for more capital funding investment, particularly in small, low-income communities of color in the Central Valley. This bond would generate a total of $8.877 billion. Of that total, safe drinking water and wastewater would be allocated $750 million and funding to support groundwater efforts would be $675 million. The rest of the bond funding would be allocated to different needs including: stormwater projects ($550 million), watershed improvement and restoration ($3.6+ billion), infrastructure repairs for the Friant Kern and Madera Canals ($750 million), Oroville Dam infrastructure repairs and flood management projects ($700 million), groundwater desalination ($400 million), wastewater recycling ($400 million), and water conservation ($365 million).

The amount of funding allocated for safe drinking water is historic and greatly needed. The bond would help provide funding for capital infrastructure projects and it is a necessary complement to the Governor’s proposed Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund that would help cover operations and maintenance costs. Taken together, they will dramatically advance achievement of the human right to water in California. Community Water Center helped write the safe drinking water, wastewater and groundwater sections of Prop 3 and we are looking forward to keeping you all engaged on our efforts to pass the water bond this November. If you have any questions about the water bond, please contact Jonathan Nelson at jonathan.nelson@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346.


Update on the Tulare Kern Funding Area Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Disadvantaged Community Involvement Program (DACIP) Project Advisory Committee (PAC)

The Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program is a statewide water planning effort that incentivizes and promotes regional water management and the implementation of multi-benefit water projects. The Disadvantaged Community Involvement Grant Program (DACIP) was created to ensure the involvement of disadvantaged communities in IRWM planning efforts. The Tulare Kern Funding Area was allocated $3.4 million for this project and this funding area includes participation from 7 IRWM groups: Kaweah River Basin IRWM Group, Kern County IRWM Group, Kings Basin Water Authority, Poso Creek IRWM Group, Southern Sierra Regional Water Management Group, Tule River Basin IRWM Group, and Westside-San Joaquin IRWM Group; and tribal representatives, Counties, DAC representatives, and environmental justice groups.

This DAC Involvement Program will be developing a needs assessment of all communities within the Tulare Lake Basin area that will include an evaluation of the community characteristics, drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and other water related needs. The program will also help communities develop projects for construction funding including preparing environmental documents, engineering studies and more. The program will also have education and engagement programs that will consist of community meetings, training workshops and educational field trips. The Project Advisory Committee (PAC) has met three times to develop and give feedback on the criteria for developing the needs assessment and will be meeting again in August. If you are interested in learning more about this program, visit:  http://www.kingsbasinauthority.org/projects-funding/ongoing-projects/prop-1-irwm-dac-involvement-grant/  


CV-SALTS basin plan amendment moves to the State Water Board

CV-SALTS (Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability) is a planning process that has been going on for nearly 12 years. CV-SALTS is comprised of a group of dischargers along with Regional and State Water Board staff members who have been working to create a salt and nutrient management (SNMP) which would help guide the adoption of a basin plan amendment. This basin plan amendment will dictate how the discharge of salts and nitrates will be regulated within the Central Valley.

There are three overarching goals of CV-SALTS:

1) Ensure communities impacted by nitrate contamination have access to safe water,

2) Achieve balance of nitrates leaching into the groundwater,

3) Restore groundwater basins.

On May 31st the Central Valley Regional Water Board adopted an amendment to the Central Valley Basin Plan for the regulation of nitrate and salinity. The Basin Plan Amendment now moves onto the State Water Board for final review and approval. On July 13th, the comment period for written comments to the State Water Board opened and must be submitted by August 13th at noon. To review the notice and Basin Plan Amendment go here.

Community Water Center will be hosting a webinar to go over CV SALTS in more depth on Friday, July 27th from 10:30am-12pm. To join the webinar, contact Ryan Jensen at ryan.jensen@communitywatercenter.org or at 559-733-0219. If you can’t join the webinar, there will also be a recording that can be shared.


Upcoming events

DATE: August 9th. TIME: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm. EVENT: How to Build Marketing Skills to Gain Support from Water Customers. Location: Webinar. Cost: Free. http://efcnetwork.org/events/webinar-how-to-build-marketing-skills-to-gain-support-from-water-customers/


DATE: August 28th. TIME: 6:00-7:00pm. EVENT: Water System Financial Management for California Board Members, Local Elected Officials, and System Owners. LOCATION: Webinar. COST: Free.

DESCRIPTION: This webinar will provide an overview of key financial management best practices for small water system owners, board members, and local elected officials. We will discuss the fiscal responsibilities of water system leaders, budgeting best practices, and ways to measure and improve the overall financial health of the water system. You will also learn about how water systems can best use reserve accounts to improve their financial management. MORE INFO: https://calmutuals.org/event/water-system-financial-management-for-california-board-members-local-elected-officials-and-system-owners/

DATE: September 10th. TIME: 6:00-8:00pm. EVENT: AB 54 Webinar. Location: Online. COST: $99.

DESCRIPTION: AB-54 is a requirement for all Directors of Mutual Water Companies regardless of size. Our training meets the two-hour AB-54 Director Training Requirement. The specific law requires that each board member of a Mutual Water Company operated as a public water system to, within six months of taking office, complete a two-hour course offered by a qualified trainer. AB-54 is a requirement for all Directors of Mutual Water Companies regardless of size. MORE INFO: https://calruralwater.org/product/ab-54-webinar-2/

DATES: October 31st-November 1st. EVENT: Water Treatment Certification Review (Grades 1- 2). LOCATION: Clarion Inn Conference Center, 1612 Sisk Rd., Modesto, CA 95350. COST: $350.

DESCRIPTION: California Rural Water Association (CRWA) is offering a series of two-day certification review classes designed to enhance operators’ working knowledge of water treatment. Classes include a pre-test and detailed instruction on the expected range of knowledge for water treatment operators and practice exams. This format refreshes operators on the many aspects of water treatment systems and helps sharpen their test-taking skills. MORE INFO: https://calruralwater.org/product/water-treatment-certification-review-grades-1-2-2/

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