Even though the legislature is out on recess, we've been advancing the Human Right to Water in multiple policy contexts this month.
Drinking Water Plan
The approval of Proposition 1 (Prop 1) by voters November 2014, which included $520 million for small disadvantaged community drinking water systems, was a great victory for communities. On August 4, 2015, the State Water Board is scheduled to consider approving the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund, Intended Use Plan (IUP), which is the primary guidance document on how Prop 1 and other drinking water funding will be used in fiscal year 2015/16. For many years now, CWC and our partners have advocated to improve small disadvantaged community (DAC) resource allocation through the annual IUP renewal process. CWC and our allies again submitted formal comments to the State Water Board in June. The final IUP being considered by the Board, while not addressing many of the our recent recommendations, is vastly improved from previous years' versions, and as such, we intend to continue working with Board staff to improve the program guidance and outcomes, particularly related to private well communities and facilitating water system consolidations. We encourage all interested stakeholders to participate in the August 4th Board meeting by either attending in person in Sacramento, or watching the meting live via the Board webpage. The meeting starts at 9:00 a.m.
Emergency Drought Hearing
CWC's Ryan Jensen testified on vulnerable Valley communities at the Assembly Hearing on Drought Emergency Services in July. Ryan testified that to meet community needs and improve the drought response, we need to take action to advance solutions on three fronts: interim emergency solutions; long-term solutions; and proactive source water protection. Read his full comments here.
Conservation measures are clearly necessary during the drought and beyond as we adapt to a changing water supply framework in California. Rethinking our water pricing structures presents a great opportunity to address the dual goals of promoting conservation and achieving the Human Right to Water. At a July State Water Board workshop, we suggested several ways of leveraging conservation pricing to further the Human Right to Water, including incorporating a public goods charge, developing a conservation signal in conjunction with an affordability program, promoting conservation for all water users - industrial, commercial, and agricultural as well as domestic users, and creating a fund to support operations and maintenance costs where appropriate to ensure that water is reliable and affordable. Read more from our blog post here.