Community Water Center

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

June 2018 eNews

June 2018

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Dear {{ recipient.first_name_or_friend }},

The movement for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water continues to grow both within CWC and throughout California. 100+ community members - both those new to this struggle and those that have spent decades advocating for safe water solutions - traveled to Sacramento to let their legislators know that we need a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund NOW. Join the movement by taking action for safe and affordable drinking water today.

Earlier this month, our civic engagement team contacted more than 2,500 voters to talk about drinking water, voting, and ways to get involved in the movement for water justice.

We're delighted that Erica Fernandez has joined our CWC team as our new Director of Organizing, adding even more capacity to continue to build power for water justice. We're hiring for several Program Associate positions, so please send qualified candidates our way!

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100+ Community Members Travel to Sacramento Rally!

San Joaquin Valley community leaders traveled to Sacramento last week to meet with California legislators about the Governor's Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. 

More than 100 residents from the San Joaquin Valley traveled to Sacramento to share their experiences with unsafe water and urge legislators to support the Governor’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Speakers at the rally raised their voices for safe water -- including West Goshen resident Lucy Hernandez, Lanare resident Isabel Solorio, Senator Bill Monning, Senator Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, State Water Resources Control Board Chair Felicia Marcus, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, Dr. Salvador Sandoval, and Dolores Huerta. See pictures from the day here, and more on the rally from Telemundo and Univision.

The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is needed now more than ever as more than one million Californians still lack access to the most basic human right -- safe water. We’ve been working tirelessly with an unprecedented coalition of supporters - including agriculture, business, environmental groups, health groups, labor unions, and a bipartisan group of legislators - to make this long-term solution a reality, and our communities have been waiting for decades. We need to get this done this legislative session. Take 1 minute to tell your legislator to prioritize safe and affordable drinking water NOW.


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2,500+ Latino Voters Contacted

The 2018 Civic Engagement Team at our Visalia office this May.

CWC believes that communities who lack safe and affordable water need to be driving the decision-making that impacts them, and one of the primary ways to do that is by voting. As part of our program to increase voter participation, we are calling thousands of voters to connect with them about the water issues impacting their lives and the importance of civic engagement actions, including voting, to fight for solutions.

The Civic Engagement Project team spent three weeks contacting more than 2,500 Tulare County Latino voters, exceeding the goal set for this project! They talked to voters about water in their community and reminded them to get out and vote in the June 5th primary. When asked, 89% of these voters agreed that the State of California should invest in solutions to make sure our families have safe and affordable drinking water. More than two-thirds said they wanted to help make these solutions a reality by pledging to take action. We're excited about the team's success and will keep building on this momentum into the summer and fall.

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water board election filing open from july 16th - august 10th

Local water boards, including Community Services Districts (CSDs), Public Utilities Districts (PUDs), and nonprofit Mutual water companies, as well as small cities, are responsible for implementing the Human Right to Water in many rural communities.

Recently we released a new report which looked at these local water boards and their elections: "Untapped Opportunity: Local Water Boards and the Fight for Water Justice." The report found that in the southern San Joaquin Valley, 87% of local water board seats were uncontested in the most recent election -- that’s almost 500 local seats. When only one candidate runs for a seat, the seat does not appear on a ballot, and the election does not take place. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, 75 of 109 local water boards studied have not held a single election in the last four years.

This gap of local leadership is partly due to the complicated and fragmented nature of water governance in CA, and the lack of support and resources for interested leaders to step into decision-making roles themselves. In order to address this gap, the Community Water Center has compiled resources for community leaders to learn more about local water boards and to take the next step to run in their water board election. If you or someone you know is interested in running to be on their local water board, be aware that you must submit your paperwork for candidacy within the window of July 16th - August 10th.

Reach out to our Regional Water Management Coordinator, Adriana Renteria, with any questions at or (559) 733-0219.

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This month, Erica Fernandez joined CWC as our new Director of Organizing! She brings years of experience working for environmental justice, and we are so excited to be working with her. See more about Erica here and be sure to say hi if you see her around the Visalia office!

Jenny (center) with former CWC staff members Kristin and Charlotte at our annual Sacramento Water Justice Leadership Awards.

In bittersweet news, Jenny Rempel, our Director of Education and Engagement, will be moving on from her full-time position with the Center to pursue graduate studies at UC Berkeley this fall. Jenny has been with Community Water Center for four years, and in that time, she has helped us establish and expand our systems for communications, media, and community engagement, including growing our integrated voter engagement program. She is a dedicated activist, committed to building power in communities impacted by social and environmental injustices, and we know those passions will serve her well in her next chapter and as she stays involved in the water justice movement in her new capacity. We will miss Jenny and hope you can join us in wishing her luck! 

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We’re Hiring Program Associates in Visalia and Sacramento!

We are hiring Program Associates to join both our Visalia and Sacramento teams! Both Program Associates will be primarily responsible for organizational, fund development and communications work, as well as providing other policy and program support. The ideal candidate is fluent in Spanish (written and oral) and has excellent communication and organizational skills and a willingness to learn new programs. The positions could be part-time or full-time, and it is a regular, non-exempt, hourly, employee position.

To apply, please send your resume and a letter of interest to Anavel Valdez-Lupercio ( for the Visalia position OR Kelsey Hinton ( for the Sacramento position. For more information, click here!

Please share this opportunity widely with your networks!

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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 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, Nimmi Damodaran, Paul Pierce and Patience Milrod, and Renata Brillinger

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

Alan Saunders, Allison Turner, Anita Kumar Chang, Bob Pringle, Brian and Ellen Hinton, Brodie Hannibal, Claire Perry, Deborah Rosenthal, Diane Weiss, Eric Ores, Gabriel Mota, Hundt Family Foundation Inc., Iris Biblowitz, Isha Ray, Janis Buckingham, Jill and Greg Stacy, John Sauceda, Jonathan Nelson, Jorge Andre, Julia Emerson, Kevin Mori, Lakshmi Myneni, Latino Community Foundation, Laura Schewel, Leah White, Mari Amend, Mark Kines, Masha Chernyak, Nell Green Nylen, Patrick Moyle, Pattie and Charlie Firestone, Ratna Nirkondar, Richard Adler, Richard Whitt, Robert Krase, Rosanne Gross, Sara Aminzadeh, Sara Hundt, Terri Waller, The California Wellness Foundation, Triskeles Foundation

None of our work would be possible without the support of our donors. Thank you!

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