Community Water Center

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

June 2014 Newsletter

June 2014

Hi  -

With a few recent successes under our belts -- notably, the Drinking Water Program transfer being approved by Governor Brown and effectively collaborating with the County of Tulare to implement interim drought solutions in Seville -- we are ready to enter into this dry summer re-energized and empowered!LATEST ON THE DROUGHT

Due to the drought, Sandra Garcia and other residents of Poplar are forced to use their contaminated back-up well for basic water needs.

As California’s severe drought carries on, we remain steadfast in our work to ensure that this statewide issue does not most heavily burden those with the least ability to endure its impacts. In the past month we have heard from our community partners in Poplar, where groundwater levels have fallen so drastically that the community is now forced to use water from their backup well which has long been known to have nitrate contamination, and Monson, where private, domestic wells are running dry and malfunctioning due to major drops in the water table. In Seville, water shortages are now a common occurrence, the County of Tulare has issued “boil water” notices, and residents are having to use buckets of stored water for their basic sanitation needs. In a recent meeting, one Seville resident said, “I need to wake up at 4:00 A.M. just to get enough water out of the tap to use.”

Rebecca Quintana explains Seville’s challenges around safe drinking water during an Environmental Justice Tour.

Seville has been stuck in the process of developing a long-term solution for many years, however due to the immediate impacts of the drought, the County has submitted a request to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for drought funds to install a 15,000 gallon storage tank and new pump. Another long-delayed interim solution is on its way in the form of a water vending machine. The funding application for the vending machine has recently been approved and now the County, CDPH, funding agency, and CWC are beginning to work on implementation. We are pleased that the County has been responsive to the immediate needs of our communities and we hope that through this collaboration we can continue to direct critical drought relief to those who need it the most! Read more about CWC's community-driven interim solutions by clicking below.

Members of the AGUA Coalition gather in Sacramento before testifying at a legislative meeting for safe drinking water.

After two years of very hard work by CWC’s team, ally organizations, and community partners, Governor Brown has officially authorized the entire Drinking Water Program to be moved from the CDPH to the Department of Water Resources. For the past decade, the CDPH has failed to adequately manage millions of dollars in funding for water planning and infrastructure projects, and in 2013 the department was reprimanded by the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to distribute $455 million to water systems in need. The Drinking Water Program transfer was signed into law on Friday, June 20, 2014 through SB 861, and we are optimistic that this legislative action will lead to better coordinated and comprehensive management of drinking water project funding.

 Read More Button JOIN US ON JULY 27TH

Get ready to join CWC at this exciting summer event! In partnership with the United Farm Workers Foundation, we will be hosting a free screening of the new movie, Cesar Chavez, at the Regal Cinemas in Visalia on Sunday, July 27. This film tells the story of revered labor organizer and founder of the United Farm Workers, Cesar Chavez, and the Delano grape strike of the 1960s. Following the movie we have a great panel lined up featuring CWC’s Susana De Anda and other community leaders who are continuing Cesar’s legacy by fighting for the dignity, equity, and empowerment of all people. We encourage you to invite your family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors to join us on this special day.


Congratulations to our very own Community Advocacy Director, Maria Herrera, for being honored for her leadership in environmental justice by the United Women’s Organization and Latinas in Business & Professions Association at their “Health Happens in Tulare County: Latinas in Community Health” event! Maria, through her personal exposure to the issues and almost six years of community organizing, leadership, capacity development, and advocacy work, has developed one of the most in-depth expertise and understandings of drinking water challenges in the region. Her accomplishments include helping communities develop joint solutions, changing bureaucratic state funding hurdles, and leading the “Outside the Building” grassroots campaign to pass the historic AB 685 Human Right to Water Bill in 2012. Maria is also a powerful voice for environmental justice communities in California’s Governor’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group, a multi-stakeholder task force that develops statewide recommendations to address drinking water challenges faced by disadvantaged communities.

Top photo by Bear Guerra

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