Community Water Center

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

June 2020 eNews

June 2020

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As the days get hotter and businesses slowly start opening up, it’s important to remember one thing: We’re not out of the woods yet.

In fact, some counties have seen sharp increases in coronavirus cases. Our communities are still struggling to keep water running in their homes and to meet their basic needs. How can people be expected to wash their hands without clean water?

This is without a doubt a public health crisis.

That’s why we’re working closely with broad-based coalitions, including environmental, water, agricultural, and business leaders, to keep the water flowing and get the funding our communities need.

Collectively, we’re urging legislators to maintain and restore water access in vulnerable communities and to fund ongoing critical water needs for all Californians.

You can read more about our joint efforts below.

Together, we’re making safe water for all a reality, and I’m proud to work alongside so many of you towards realizing our vision.


Susana De Anda

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Preventing Water Shutoffs


Californians are encouraged to constantly wash their hands to stay safe and healthy, yet too many of us don’t have running water.

In fact, an estimated 350,000 Californians had their water shut off in 2019, often because they couldn’t afford their water bills.

This is unacceptable. That’s why Community Water Center and a broad coalition are urging state legislators to keep the water flowing by taking emergency steps to maintain and restore water access for vulnerable communities as part of COVID-19 budget planning.

Read the letter


Securing Congressional Funding for Water Needs

Community advocacy: San Joaquin Valley community leaders impacted by unsafe water lobby elected leaders during Capital Advocacy Day in Sacramento last year.

As Governor Newsom issued a statewide order on wearing masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, major agriculture and business leaders have now joined our unprecedented coalition of clean water advocates.

Together, we are urging Congress to support the HEROES Act and to fund critical water needs to keep families safe and healthy.

Our coalition of 70 organizations delivered a letter to Congressional leaders on June 23 outlining our funding requests to address critical safe water needs.

Read the coalition letter



Groundwater Sustainability Plans Fall Short
for San Joaquin Valley


Low-income families and communities of color are the hardest hit during a drought, especially in the San Joaquin Valley where thousands rely on wells to meet their drinking water needs.

Yet 26 plans to manage groundwater, called Groundwater Sustainability Plans, fail to protect drinking water for vulnerable communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

Water Foundation brief shows that under the current plans for San Joaquin Valley:

  • Up to 12,000 drinking water wells may go dry by 2040.
  • Up to 127,000 people could lose their primary source of water.
  • This would cost up to $359 million in damages.

It’s critical that all plans protect access to safe water for vulnerable communities. Anything less will set back all the progress we’ve made on safe drinking water and undermine our state’s promise of Human Right to Water for all Californians.

Learn more about SGMA and access educational materials.



CWC in the News!  

San Francisco Chronicle
Safe drinking water must be part of coronavirus response package

“Access to water must be included as part of the next major federal legislative package. We cannot expect to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic without water for handwashing and basic sanitation.”

- Susana De Anda, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Community Water Center, and Harlan Kelley Jr., San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

SJV Water
PPIC: Valley groundwater plans not measuring up

“Some of the groundwater plans we’ve reviewed are refusing to acknowledge that if 50 to 80 percent of wells go dry in their region, that’s an undesirable result.”

- Debi Ores, Senior Attorney, Community Water Center

Visalia Times Delta
Seville turns on the taps for the first time in 5 years

"This is a cause for celebration. This represents a real milestone in improving safe water access for residents of Seville."

- Ryan Jensen, Community Water Solutions Manager, Community Water Center

Josie Nieto of Seville said some residents, including herself, aren't quite ready to start using the tap water just yet. "I won’t use it for cooking. I’ll use bottled water to drink and to cook. I’d like to see how we can get more information because we don’t know how things are changing."

- Josie NietoAGUA Coalition

Fresno Bee
The Great Divide: California communities battle for rights to water

“They evaluated and thought, ‘Are we going to honor this agreement we already made with this low-income area, or, guess what, there’s this new wealthier middle-class housing development we’re thinking about building, which is clearly going to provide us with a better property tax base to the city coffers.”

- Ryan Jensen, Community Water Solutions Manager, Community Water Center.

Valley Public Radio
Under New Groundwater Plans, Report Estimates 12,000 Domestic Wells Could Run Dry

"What is clear to us is that there will be, unless changes are made to these groundwater sustainability plans, real negative impacts to community access to drinking water.”

- Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center

Radical Imagination
Water As A Human Right: A conversation with Radhika Fox and Susana De Anda

“The Central Valley is the heart of the state. We also have some injustices that are throughout the Central Valley, where hardworking families are having to work and live in areas where they are exposed to daily contaminants. We don’t have access to safe drinking water in many of our communities that are made up of low-income people of color."

- Susana De Anda, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Community Water Center

SJV Water
Groundwater plans could cause up to 12,000 drinking water wells to run dry

"This was a very conservative analysis and still, the numbers are sobering."

- Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center

Valley Public Radio
In Letter To Congress, Water Agencies Call For Drinking Water Relief Funding

With a “meaningful percentage of your ratepayer base out of work or losing their jobs and they’re unable to pay their water bills, that could have real impacts if you’re a small water system that’s already operating on the margins.”

- Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center

See previous CWC news coverage here.


New CWC Team Member

We are excited to introduce Justine Massey as our new team member! Justine joined the Sacramento team this month as a Policy Advocate. Welcome, Justine!

Read more about Justine here

We're Hiring!


Thank You to our Generous Donors!

Huge thank you to our regular Monthly Donors. Your continual contributions help to sustain our long-term work toward achieving safe, clean and affordable drinking water!

Amy Helfant, Anavel Valdez, Arden Wells, Arohi Sharma, Bessma Mourad, Bill Walker, Bryan Barnhart, Carly Yoshida, Cassie Morgan, Edward Bergtholdt, Ellen Rowe, Esperanza Pimentel, F Thomas Biglione, Frank Lukacs, Jill Ratner, Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, Julia Emerson, Julian De Anda, Kathryn Wuelfing, Kavita Vora, Kelsey Hinton, Kristin Dobbin, Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Paul Pierce, Sandra Hocker, Vicente Guerrero, Vicki Woods, Victoria Klug

And thank you to our generous donors for June! 

 David Shere, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Newell Bossart, Ronald Jurkovich, William Ganong

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

If you would like to become a monthly donor, click here.