Community Water Center

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

Kelsey Hinton

published Monson in Where We Work 2017-04-21 11:13:12 -0700

Monson

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Tony Torres, 71 stands near his well. He was the first Monson resident to receive a water filtration system in his home, making it safe to drink the water that comes out of his tap. (Credit: Blue Planet Network, storiesofwater.org)

Monson is a small unincorporated community that struggles with securing a safe supply of drinking water. It is a primarily Latino community in Tulare County, located just a few miles from other small communities such as Sultana and the larger city of Dinuba. Surrounded by agriculture fields and dairies, the community is home to approximately 200 people, many of whom live below the poverty line. 

Monson had been without clean water for several years. The first tests confirming this suspected contamination discovered many wells with nitrate levels that exceeded the federal health standard by as much as 300%. Several wells also contain bacteria and 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), a pesticide that was banned in the 1970s but persists in the soil and groundwater. These contaminants caused serious health risks. For example, ingestion of nitrate-contaminated water is extremely harmful to human health and has been linked to methemoglobinemia, or “Baby Blue Syndrome,” and a range of serious gastrointestinal and endocrine system illnesses.

With the help of Tulare County and the neighboring community of Sultana, Monson is now able to provide safe water to its community from its own stand-alone water system administered by Sultana. A full consolidation and annexation is still in the works from Sultana CSD with the help of Self-Help Enterprises.

Last updated May 8, 2018


published Poplar in Where We Work 2017-04-21 11:12:53 -0700

Poplar

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Poplar, called Poplar-Cotton Center for census designation purposes, is an unincorporated community located in south central Tulare County. Approximately 2,500 people, the majority of which are low-income Latinos, reside in Poplar. The community is dominated by agriculture and industrial activities. The community relies on groundwater and has three wells, one of which is not in use due to nitrate contamination. 

Poplar was one of eleven communities in Tulare County to secure emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for drought assistance in late summer 2014. Poplar Community Services District received $462,000 to install two pumps that reach greater depths, but as groundwater levels continue to drop Poplar will need a new well altogether. They currently have a planning project in the works for a new well for the community.

Last updated May 8, 2018


published East Orosi in Where We Work 2017-04-21 11:11:54 -0700

East Orosi

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Tiene que nacer un niño azul o tiene que morir los niños para que nos ayuden.
A baby needs to be born blue or children need to die in order for them to help us.
- Maria Elena Orozco, resident of East Orosi.

East Orosi is an unincorporated community in Tulare County of approximately 500 people, nearly all of whom are low-income Latino farmworker families. East Orosi is served by the East Orosi Community Service District, and almost all the groundwater supplies in the area are contaminated.

Residents haven't had safe drinking water intermittently for 10 years. The groundwater in the area has nitrate levels that regularly exceed the federal health standard. Because of this, residents in East Orosi have to pay for water twice - once for water from their tap that they cannot drink, and again when they drive long distances to buy large jugs of potable water for their families.

CWC has supported East Orosi in securing funding and creating long-term solutions. The community is also seeking funding to install water meters to help track and conserve their water supply.  

Last updated May 4, 2018


published Seville in Where We Work 2017-04-21 11:08:51 -0700

Seville

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The money that we are spending on safe drinking water could be used on educational material instead.
- Rebecca Quintana, Seville school board member

Seville is a small, low-income community in Tulare county of approximately 74 homes, one elementary school, and a small store; the majority of residents are farmworkers and the median household income is about $14,000 a year. Seville has been without safe drinking water for over 50 years. Seville has old, leaky pipes, and water faucets clogged with sand and rocks.

Plans are currently underway to consolidate with the nearby community of Yettem’s water system. Yettem is also struggling with high nitrate levels, but consolidation of these two systems would give both communities a more secure supply of safe drinking water. Phase 1 of this plan is moving forward this summer to replace the dilapidated distribution network for water in Seville. Next, phase 2 will include drilling a new well in Yettem and the consolidation of the two communities. Both Yettem and Seville are scheduled to form the Yettem-Seville Community Services District this November.

CWC has been working with Seville since December of 2008. CWC helped the community establish the community-based organization Committee for a Better Seville, and helped the community address funding hurdles and secure planning money.

Last updated May 8, 2018


California Takes Strong Steps Toward Making Water Conservation a Way of Life

For Immediate Release

Contacts:
Kimiko Martinez, Natural Resources Defense Council, kmartinez@nrdc.org310-434-2344
Sara Aminzadeh, California Coastkeeper Alliance, sara@cacoastkeeper.org415-794-8422
Cynthia Koehler, WaterNow Alliance, ck@waternow.org415-515-0511

California Takes Strong Steps Toward Making Water Conservation a Way of Life

Reduced pressure on water supplies will enhance long-term water security and climate resiliency

SACRAMENTO, CA (April 7, 2017) —  State officials today released a comprehensive plan to formalize Governor Brown’s 2016 Executive Order on “Making Water Conservation a California Way of Life.”

The plan sets a strong path toward achieving the objectives of the order: using water more wisely, eliminating water waste, strengthening local drought resilience, improving agricultural water use efficiency and drought planning. It sets the stage for further Water Board work to ensure that all water is valued and used efficiently, including recycled water, and also prepares California for the realities of living with climate change, including more frequent droughts and floods similar to those we’ve seen recently.

The plan:

  • focuses on improving urban water efficiency, particularly for landscaping
  • eliminates wasteful practices and strengthens drought preparedness for cities, towns and rural communities
  • emphasizes local control and decision-making> by allowing each of the state’s 410 water utilities to work within a customized water budget based on population, land use, climate and other local factors that influence indoor and outdoor water use. Local utilities can choose how best to meet their targets, including through leak repair, offering rebates for more efficient showers and clothes washers, or helping customers transition to more climate appropriate landscapes

Following is a statement from Tracy Quinn, senior water policy analyst with Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Recent events at Oroville Dam and elsewhere statewide demonstrate the vulnerability of our water supply infrastructure, which can occur during both wet and dry periods, and reinforces the value of water efficiency regardless of the weather. Some of the easiest and least expensive ways to ensure that we have sustainable water supplies in the future is to increase water efficiency, fix leaks and eliminate wasteful practices like hosing down sidewalks. These are common sense fixes that mean more water for us in the long run.”

Following is a statement from Sara Aminzadeh, executive director of California Coastkeeper Alliance:
“The last five years have shown us that we can no longer take water for granted. This plan will help California end the cycle of lurching from one water crisis to the next and ensure our communities and economy can continue to thrive in an uncertain climate reality.”

Following is a statement from Cynthia Koehler, executive director of WaterNow Alliance: 
“Water use efficiency and innovation have huge potential in California, and the State’s conservation plan supports local water providers in their efforts to scale up these programs and make their communities more resilient and water secure – while keeping costs affordable for ratepayers.

Following is a statement from Heather Cooley, water program director at the Pacific Institute: 
“Californians have made major water conservation and efficiency improvements over the last several decades and especially during the recent drought. Without these efforts, the state’s water challenges would be much worse. The good news is that there remains additional efficiency opportunities, and the state’s plan to make conservation a California way of life will help ensure that California communities, businesses, and ecosystems have the water they need to thrive.”

Following is a statement from Laurel Firestone, co-director of Community Water Center:
“The plan helps ensure affordability of our water supplies, a major issue for low-income communities. In addition, improving drought planning and preparedness, as the plan aims to do, will help protect our most vulnerable communities from the water shortages they have seen during this drought and that will only become more common in the future.”

Following is a statement from Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Climate Resolve:
“Climate change is bringing more extreme weather. Our dry years have become drier and our wet years have become more extreme. With water supply at risk, it’s common sense for California to conserve and make the most of every drop.”

Background
The plan released today was written by the five state agencies that will lead its implementation – the California Department of Water Resources, State Water Resources Control Board, California Public Utilities Commission, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and California Energy Commission.

Earlier this year, 36 leading water and climate scientists delivered a letter to Gov. Brown to express their support for Executive Order B-37-16 and the state’s draft plan to make water conservation a California way of life. The plan has also received support from a diverse array of stakeholders, including the Building Industry Association, Moulton Niguel Water District, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Climate Resolve, WaterNow Alliance, California Coastkeeper Alliance, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Community Water Center, Pacific Institute, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water and the Water Foundation.

The plan has also received support from a diverse array of businesses, water agencies, environmental justice organizations and non-governmental organizations, many of whom served on the Urban Advisory Group panel who informed the development of the plan over several months.

The proposed urban water use standards are intended to build upon the conservation achieved under SBx7-7 and the emergency mandatory conservation targets. They reflect the need to transition from conservation (simply using less water) toward using water more efficiently. The state proposes to finalize the standards, which will define efficient use, by 2020. Water suppliers will then use those standards to calculate customized water use targets, which they will be required to meet by 2025. The state may also establish interim targets to ensure suppliers are on track to meet 2025 targets.

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About California Coastkeeper Alliance
Using law, policy and science, California Coastkeeper Alliance supports and amplifies the work of 12 local Waterkeeper programs to fight for swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters for California communities and ecosystems.  CCKA was founded in 1999 with the belief that a healthy ocean and coast and clean water is vital to California’s economy, public health and way of life. Visit us at www.cacoastkeeper.org and follow us on twitter @CA_Waterkeepers.

About Climate Resolve
Climate Resolve is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, founded in 2010, dedicated to creating real, practical solutions to meet the climate challenge while building a better city for Angelenos. Visit us at www.climateresolve.org and follow us twitter @climateresolve.

About Community Water Center
The Community Water Center (CWC) believes all communities should have access to clean, safe, and affordable water. CWC acts as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Visit us at www.communitywatercenter.org and follow us on twitter @CWaterC.

About the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on twitter @NRDC.

About the Pacific Institute
The Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that creates and advances solutions to some of the world’s most pressing water challenges through interdisciplinary research and by partnering with a variety of stakeholders. Founded in 1987 and based in Oakland, California, the Pacific Institute envisions a world in which society, the economy, and the environment have the water they need to thrive now and in the future. Visit us at www.pacinst.org and follow us on twitter @PacificInstitut.

About WaterNow Alliance
WaterNow Alliance is a network of water utility leaders across the West dedicated to high impact, widespread adoption of sustainable water solutions in communities.  Visit us at www.waternow.org and follow us on twitter @WaterNowOrg.


March 2017 CWLN Newsletter

Funding Update on Prop 1

Proposition 1 (Prop 1), also known as the Water Bond, passed in 2014, authorizing $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration, and drinking water protection. The legislature has appropriated $2 billion from Prop 1 for the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to administer.

At the February 22nd State Water Board hearing in Sacramento, staff provided an update on the status of each of the funding programs under Prop 1, as well as the overall accomplishments of the Water Bond so far. The Division of Financial Assistance staff reported that in the calendar year 2016, the State Water Board executed 123 agreements totaling $287 million. They also reported that each of the Prop 1 funding programs have been oversubscribed, and that SWRCB is working to process the overwhelming amount of applications they’ve received and execute the approved projects. A list of all of the projects funded so far by the State Board through Proposition can be found here. See below for more information about each funding program.

Proposition One funding programs administered by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB):

  Funding Program

Funding Amount

Funding Used

Technical Assistance funding used

Status

Small Community Wastewater

$260 million

$32 million executed in agreements in 2016; $13 million executed thus far in 2017.  $170 million in submitted/in progress apps.

$47 million (for DW and wastewater combined)

Ongoing.

 

Projecting over $50 million to be executed in 2017.

Water Recycling

$625 million*

Over $1 billion in grant requests and over $2 billion in loan requests. $142 million in executed grants so far.

-         

Funding requests exceed funding availability.

Drinking Water

$260 million

$44 million executed in 2016. $227 million in submitted or in progress apps = $271 million

$47 million (for DW and wastewater combined)

Projecting $127 million to be executed in 2017.

Stormwater

$200 million

$9.6 million awarded for planning and $105 million awarded for implementation

 

=$114.6 million. Over 50% of implementation directly benefits Disadvantaged Communities.

Executed $1 million in TA

Round 2 funding to start in late 2018.

Groundwater Sustainability

$800 million**

30 projects with signed agreements totaling $216 million. $110 million more expected in agreements May - Sept 2017.

Executed $3 million in TA

2nd round of solicitation expected in October 2017

 


Community Spotlight!

An interview with Community Water Leaders Network Member Jim Maciel of Armona CSD about Armona’s Arsenic Treatment Plant project:

How long has Armona had Arsenic problems?

Our problem started on Jan. 1, 2001 when the EPA lowered the arsenic MCL from 50ppb to 10ppb, putting us out of compliance.

How and when did your Arsenic treatment plant project come about?

In Oct. of 2008, the EPA issued an Administrative Order requiring the District to develop a plan and take corrective action to come in compliance or face a $35,000 per day fine.

What is the status of the project right now?

As of Mar. 13th, the project is 82% complete with an anticipated completion date of May 6, 2017.

Where did the funding for the project come from?

Funding is coming from a $5,000,000 grant and $4,200,000 zero percent, 30 year loan from the SWRCB Revolving Fund.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting this project done?

Initially, finding a suitable location was a problem.  On our third attempt we were able to drill a test well to 1800 ft. that indicated suitable water stratas between 750 and 1100 feet. Once the location was approved, the next hurdle we had to overcome was getting the design work for the well and treatment plant approved by the Water Board and paying off an existing $1,600,000 loan with the USDA in order for the State to fund the project. We went through the bid process and were fortunate in awarding the bid to Specialty Construction of San Luis Obispo and they have been doing an excellent job constructing the facility.  We are currently running about 45 days behind schedule due to the rains - but we are not complaining.

What has Armona CSD done really well, either in getting the project going or managing the project?

In 2008, the Board of Directors authorized Prop. 218 hearings with our residents and approved a 5 year, 5 step increase in our water rates in order to financially justify this project. Because our residents agreed to these increases, we were able to prove to the State that we can purchase, operate the facility and pay back the loan. Our operators, Granger Water Specialties and our engineers at Provost and Pritchard have done an excellent job in managing the project and keeping change orders to a minimum.

What have you learned from the project so far?

Obtaining a reliable source of water and being able to treat and filter the water to bring the water into compliance with State and Federal requirements can be a very challenging job. We look forward to the day this facility is providing safe, affordable drinking water to the residents of Armona.


Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: March 23, 4-5 PM

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, simply dial (571) 317-3122, when prompted, enter the access code 611-041-917 followed by the pound key (#). Press # when prompted for the Audio Pin. Let Kristin know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  1. Member updates and questions
  2. Regional and state updates and questions
  3. Monthly discussion topic: Staffing and consultants

 


2017 to be big year for safe, affordable water legislation!

This legislative session is already proving to be a big year for safe, affordable drinking water in California. Several legislators have introduced a long list of bills that will have impacts on water management in California. Here are a few of the key bills that Community Water Center is sponsoring or tracking closely:

SB 623 (Monning): would establish a new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to be housed at the State Water Resources Control Board. The Fund, once implemented, would be used to meet long-standing gaps in funding such as operation and maintenance costs that have prevented so many communities from being able to provide reliable safe drinking water to their constituents.

AB 560 (Salas): would formally outline the State Water Resources Control Board’s authority to provide water systems principal forgiveness/grants and 0% financing for water projects through Drinking Water State Revolving Fund if paying back loans would increase water rates to unaffordable levels.

SB 427 (Leyva): would by July 1, 2020, require a public water system to provide the timeline for replacement of known lead user service lines in use in its distribution system to the State Water Board.

AB 277 (Mathis): establishes the Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Fund to allow counties and nonprofits to provide low-interest loans and grants to eligible applicants for drinking water needs and wastewater treatment while still having centralized oversight from the State Water Resources Control Board.

SB 252 (Dodd): creates additional requirements on people applying to drill new wells (not replacement wells) within critically overdrafted basins such as requiring neighbors to be notified, requiring public hearings, and requiring a public comment period.

AB 305 (Arambula): would require public schools to conduct a one-time survey of access to drinking water, including the number and condition of water access points. This data would be housed at the State Water Resources Control Board, and would be used to prioritize schools for funding for improved water access grants.

AB 1668 (Friedman): would revise the requirements of urban and agricultural water management plans and direct the Department of Water Resources to develop requirements for rural water management plans.


Upcoming events:

  • March 21, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Online RCAC training. Regulation Basics: Public Notification. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • April 1, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop hosted by the Community Water Leaders Network and sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Community Water Center and Self Help Enterprises. Cafe 210 in Visalia.
  • April 5, 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM. First Annual California Funding Fair. California Rural Water Association office in Sacramento or via webcast. Register for the Sacramento in person event or to live stream the webcast here: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1032 (Note that there will be a funding fair in Tulare in June)

 

More events can be found on the Community Water Leaders online calendar at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network


Save the Date! Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop April 1st

Don’t miss the Community Water Leaders Network’s first official workshop! Join us for a free, one-day workshop featuring experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national science non-profit. This workshop is designed for small drinking water systems in the Central Valley and will help prepare directors and staff to actively participate in Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development in your area. The workshop will cover:

  • What is a GSP and why is it important for your community?
  • How does the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) define “sustainability” and how will it be measured?
  • What is a water budget and what can it tell you?
  • What can a groundwater model do, and what can’t it do?
  • What kind of questions should you ask consultants?

 

Date: April 1, 2017

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM (Lunch provided)

Where: Café 210, Assembly Room (210 W. Center Ave, Visalia)

Space is limited to register today by emailing Kristin at kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org or calling 559-733-0219.


1,2,3-TCP Comment Period Has Started!

The time has come! After extensive work and a lot of pressure from across the state, the State Water Board is poised to set the legal limit, or MCL, for 1,2,3-TCP in drinking water.

The State Water Board’s draft regulations are now open for public comment, and I’ve got great news: the standard they’ve officially proposed is the most health-protective level -- 5 parts per trillion! That’s exactly what we asked for! But there’s still a strong chance the polluters, who will be responsible for covering the costs of treatment, will try to roll back this health-protective limit, so we need your support.

The public comment period is THE critical time for residents and water boards like you to participate and tell the Board to fully adopt their proposed 5 part per trillion MCL.

To ensure our communities are protected from this cancer-causing pesticide ingredient, you can submit comments, sign a petition, or come up to Sacramento for the public hearing on April 19th. We will be coordinating rides for residents and stakeholders who want to travel up to Sacramento to participate in the hearing.

You can submit comments by email, fax, or mail. You may find a sample letter template, an online petition, and more information here.


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? Contact Kristin Dobbin at 559-733-0219 or kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org .
http://www.communitywatercenter.org/


CWLN Boletín De Febrero 2017

Las Escuelas ya Pueden Pedir un Análisis Gratuito de Plomo a sus Sistemas de Agua

¿Están los estudiantes de tu escuela bebiendo agua contaminada con plomo? Es imposible saberlo sino se realiza un análisis al agua de la llave. Por ese motivo, un nuevo programa logrará que las escuelas públicas de California que no están obligadas a analizar su agua de la llav, puedan solicitar un análisis gratuito de plomo a su sistema de agua pública.

A finales de enero, la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua envió una notificación de permiso y enmienda a todos los sistemas de agua pública en California con el requerimiento de ofrecer a las escuelas, a quien sirven, pruebas análisis de agua gratuitas para detectar la contaminación de plomo. El consumo de agua no potable es un grave riesgo para la salud de los niños, ya que son más vulnerables que los adultos por la exposición al plomo y otros contaminantes que afectan su salud. La contaminación del agua por plomo normalmente ocurre por la corrosión de las tuberías, llaves de agua (grifos), o accesorios hechos de  este metal. Ni el Estado, ni la oficina de Plomo y Cobre del gobierno federal requieren realizar las pruebas de plomo en las llaves del agua (bebederos) de las escuelas. Sin embargo, bajo esta nueva política, los distritos escolares tendrán que solicitar los análisis de plomo a su sistema de agua pública.

El  proveedor de agua  de las escuelas tendrán que efectuar un análisis de  agua, y luego discutir las opciones de corrección si algunas de las muestras presentan niveles peligrosos de plomo.

La Mesa Estatal del Agua está elaborando las directrices para mejorar el acceso al agua potable en las escuelas, gracias a los fondos recibidos de $9.5 millones de dólares que les asignaron en el presupuesto estatal 2016-17. Estos fondos pueden ser utilizados para apoyar a las escuelas que, como resultado de estos nuevos análisis, descubran que el agua está contaminada por plomo.

Si le gustaría obtener más información sobre el nuevo programa de análisis de plomo o escuelas financiadas por este programa, póngase en contacto con Asha Kreilling de la organización CWC al siguiente correo electrónico: Asha.Kreiling@CommunityWaterCenter.org o comuníquese al 916-706-3346.


Iniciativa para el Agua Potable, Segura y Económica

Diversos actores y responsables en la toma de decisiones, incluyendo la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua, el Gobernador, el Centro Comunitario por el Agua (conocido por sus siglas en inglés como CWC), la Asociación de Agencias por el Agua de California, y los actores agrícolas como “Western Growers”, se han enfrentado a los obstáculos para lograr un agua potable, segura y económica en todo el estado como su principal propósito de este año. El CWC y varios grupos de defensa por el agua potable están abogando para que se establezca un nuevo fondo de agua potable, segura y económica para proporcionar una fuente sostenible de financiamiento para las necesidades no satisfactorias de agua potable. Estas necesidades no cubiertas incluyen financiar el mantenimiento de la infraestructura de agua potable y las operaciones en curso que sigue siendo un obstáculo fundamental para implementar el derecho humano a los pequeños usuarios de sistemas de agua potable.

Para apoyar este esfuerzo, el CWC y nuestros aliados se han reunido con legisladores y autoridades en la toma de decisiones, así como con los principales actores interesados en el tema del agua potable y la agricultura para crear un punto de apoyo y poder abordar las necesidades de agua potable, segura y económica para el año 2017. Además, el Centro Comunitario por el Agua, el Consejo de Liderazgo por la Responsabilidad y la Justicia, la Acción por un Agua Limpia, y la Coalición de A.G.U.A., asistieron a una sesión legislativa informativa, el pasado 7 de febrero, en el Capitolio estatal para hablar sobre el agua potable, segura y económica. Decenas de funcionarios del Capitolio y miembros de la comunidad asistieron a esta reunió Diversas partes interesadas y responsables en la toma de decisiones, incluyendo la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua, el Gobernador, el Centro Comunitario por el Agua (conocido por sus siglas en inglés como CWC), la Asociación de Agencias por el Agua de California, y las partes interesadas agrícolas como “Western Growers”, tienen un propósito principal este año de enfrentar a los obstáculos para lograr un agua potable, segura y económica. El CWC y varios grupos de defensa por el agua potable están abogando para que se establezca un nuevo fondo de agua potable, segura y económica para proporcionar una fuente sostenible de financiamiento para las necesidades existentes de agua potable. Estas necesidades existentes incluyen financiar el mantenimiento de la infraestructura de agua potable y las operaciones en curso cuales siguen siendo un obstáculo fundamental para implementar el derecho humano al agua por los pequeños sistemas de agua.

Para apoyar este esfuerzo, el CWC y nuestros aliados se han reunido con legisladores y autoridades en la toma de decisiones, así como con las partes interesadas en el tema del agua potable y la agricultura para crear un punto de apoyo y poder resolver las necesidades de agua potable, segura y económica en el año 2017. Además, el Centro Comunitario por el Agua, el Consejo de Liderazgo por la Responsabilidad y la Justicia, la Acción por un Agua Limpia, y la Coalición de A.G.U.A., asistieron a una sesión legislativa informativa, el pasado 7 de febrero, en el Capitolio estatal para hablar sobre el agua potable, segura y económica. Decenas de funcionarios del Capitolio y miembros de la comunidad asistieron a esta reunión.

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Empleados del Centro Comunitario por el Agua, aliados y residentes del Valle Central dieron testimonio al taller de la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua el 8 de febrero sobre la necesidad del agua sana y económica.

También como parte de este esfuerzo, el pasado 8 de febrero en Sacramento, la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua celebró un taller público informativo sobre el agua potable, segura y económica. Laurel Firestone, la Co-Directora Ejecutiva del Centro Comunitario por el Agua, así como las partes interesadas en el tema del agua potable, y miembros del público, participaron en los paneles de discusión y públicamente compartieron sus testimonios en apoyo a una acción seria para garantizar que todas las comunidades tengan agua potable, segura y económica. Alrededor de 20 miembros de la comunidad compartieron sus historias y abogaron por tener un agua potable y segura, al igual que varias organizaciones sin fines de lucro, otras partes interesados en el tema, y grupos de interés público manifestaron su apoyo. Alentadoramente, el Gobernador presentó la Propuesta Estatal Presupuestal el mes pasado donde hizo mención e incluyó el asunto del agua potable, segura y económica. Usted puede leer más acerca del presupuesto en las siguientes ligas: http://www.communitywatercenter.org/news_release_water_california_budget_2017

A medida que seguimos abogando por una fuente de financiamiento para un agua potable seguro y económica, necesitaremos comentarios y apoyo de los sistemas locales de agua. Regístrese para mantenerse al día sobre esta importante campaña y las oportunidades de participar.

http://www.communitywatercenter.org/take_action


Próxima audiencia sobre el plan para de manejo de sal y nitratos en el Valle Central

Los nitratos, uno de los principales contaminantes que afectan el suministro de agua potable en el Valle Central, plantean un grave peligro a la salud pública. Los nitratos se perforan en la cuenca de las aguas subterráneas.  Fuentes principales  como los fertilizantes son producidos artificialmente por los desechos de la vaca, y las aguas negras. Las sales, otro contaminante común, no son particularmente peligrosas para la salud pública, pero sí son una preocupación para la agricultura debido a que los altos niveles de sales en el agua no son adecuados para usarse en la mayoría de las cosechas. Desde hace más de 10 años, los emisores de sales y nitratos (tales como cultivos, lecherías, y plantas de tratamiento de aguas negras), en colaboración con la Mesa de Agua en el Valle Central, han estado trabajando para desarrollar un plan de acción sobre cómo regular de la mejor manera los desechos de sales y nitratos. Este proceso se conoce como CV-SALTS. Los tres objetivos principales de este proceso son: 1) atender las necesidades de agua potable a corto y mediano plazo en las comunidades afectadas por los nitratos; 2) el manejo y reducir la cantidad de nitratos que llega al abastecimiento de las aguas subterráneas; y 3) eventualmente restaurar la cuenca. El proceso ya está terminando y el Plan preliminar finalmente fue presentado a mediados del pasado enero, y ahora está abierto para recibir comentarios del público.

El 9 de marzo, hay una audiencia especial con la Mesa Regional del Agua en Rancho Cordova donde se les presentara el lan. Aunque se suponía que la Coalición CV-SALTS debía de estar educando y difundiendo el Plan a lo largo de su proceso y desarrollo, hasta ahora ha habido pocas oportunidades para que el público, y especialmente las partes afectadas con los sistemas de agua potable se involucren. Aunque ha sido desalentador, esto hace que la junta del 9 de marzo sea aún más importante. El Plan desarrollado tendrá un fuerte impacto y de gran alcance a todos los usuarios de las aguas subterráneas, pero en particular, a todos los usuarios de agua potable. Considere la posibilidad de asistir a la audiencia del 9 de marzo o averigüe más acerca de los programas que regulan la sales y sus nutrientes, y comparta sus ideas sobre cómo el grupo puede alcanzar sus objetivos.


Próximos Eventos:

  • El 23 de febrero, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Taller en línea de RCAC. Capacitación en línea sobre Ética para los miembros de la Mesa (AB1234). Regístrese gratis en: www.events.rcac.org.
  • El 25 de febrero, 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM. Mesa Redonda Sobre el Derecho Humano al Agua por WELL (Líderes Latinos por la Educación del Agua). En Fresno, Hotel Radisson (1055 Van Ness Ave). Para registrarse, envíe un correo electrónico a: victor@latinosforwater.org.
  • El 28 de febrero, 10:00 AM - 12:00 ó 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Taller en línea de RCAC. Mapeo en línea de Google Earth y Planificación de Mejoras de Capital. Regístrese gratis en www.events.rcac.org.
  • El 1º de marzo, 11:00- 12:00 ó 2 - 3PM. Seminario en línea sobre la Red de Centros Financieros Medioambientales. Recolección de Datos: Auditorías de Agua y Control de Pérdidas de Agua. Regístrese gratis en: http://efcnetwork.org/events/webinar-water-audits-water-loss-control-gathering-data/.
  • 3 de Marzo,  Seminario en línea de RCAC. Mejorar sus Operaciones y Reducir los Costos. Regístrese gratis en: www.events.rcac.org.
  • El 7 de marzo, 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM. La Tensión del Agua y un Valle de San Joaquín Cambiante. Organizado por el Instituto de Políticas Públicas de California y el Instituto del Agua de California de la Universidad Estatal de Fresno. En el Memorial de los Veteranos, Clovis, CA. Regístrese gratis en: http://www.ppic.org/main/event.asp?i=2213.
  • El 21 de marzo, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Taller en línea de RCAC. Fundamentos de la Mesa en línea: Gestión Financiera. Regístrese gratis en: www.events.rcac.org.
  • El 22 de marzo, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. Taller en línea de RCAC. Regulaciones Básicas en línea: Notificación Pública. Regístrese gratis en: www.events.rcac.org.
  • Marzo 23-24. Conferencia de WELL (Water Education for Latino Leaders). En San Diego, Hotel Wyndham. La conferencia es gratuita y hay becas disponibles para ayudar a los miembros de la Mesa apoyar con los costos de alojamiento hospedaje y alimentación comida para porciertos miembros de la Mesa. Para registrarse, envíe un correo electrónico a: victor@latinosforwater.org.
  • El 1º de abril, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Taller sobre el Plan de Sostenibilidad de las Aguas Subterráneas, organizado por la Red Comunitaria de Líderes de Agua y patrocinado por el Sindicato de Científicos Preocupados, el Centro Comunitario por el Agua y las Empresas de Autoayuda. En Visalia, Cafe 210. Para registrarse, envíe un correo electrónico a: kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org.

 

Encuentre más eventos en nuestro calendario en línea de la Red Comunitaria de Líderes de Agua que se encuentra en: http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network.


Anuncios destacados del mes

Picture1.pngEste mes, la Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua anunció el lanzamiento de su nueva página web sobre el Derecho Humano al Agua. El público podrá encontrar información sobre los esfuerzos para asegurar que cada Californiano tenga acceso a un agua potable, limpia, y económica.  Durante las próximas semanas, la nueva página web será actualizada con más datos sobre el acceso económico al agua . Visita la nueva página y estudia los mapas interactivos y a la base de datos que muestran el progreso de California para lograr el Derecho Humano al Agua.

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/hr2w/index.shtml

 

 

 


Siguiente Red Informativa: 23 de febrero, 4-5 PM.

Un elemento esencial de la Red Comunitaria de Líderes de Agua es la conferencia telefónica mensual que proporciona a los miembros la oportunidad de comunicarse entre sí, compartir diversas preguntas, y recibir dicha información desde la comodidad de sus propios hogares. Para participar, simplemente marque (571) 317-3122, cuando se le solicite el código de acceso marque, 611-041-917# . Presione la tecla # cuando se le solicite el Pin del audio.  Si esta llamada incurre cargos de larga distancia, por favor comuníquese con Kristin para obtener una tarjeta prepagada.

Agenda:

  1. Resumen y preguntas de los integrantes.
  2. Resumen y preguntas a nivel regional y estatal.
  3. Tema mensual a discutir: Calidad del Agua y Salud Pública.

¡Reserva la fecha! El 1º de abril habrá un Taller sobre el Plan de Sostenibilidad de las Aguas Subterráneas.

¡No te pierdas el primer taller oficial de la Red Comunitaria de Líderes de Agua! Únase con nosotros por un día, al taller gratuito que impartirán los expertos de la Unión de Científicos Interesados, una organización no lucrativa de científicos a nivel nacional. Este taller está diseñado para pequeños usuarios de los sistemas de agua potable en el Valle Central y ayudará a preparar a los directores y al personal a participar activamente en el Plan de Sostenibilidad de las Aguas Subterráneas (conocido por sus siglas en inglés como GSP) en su área. El taller tratará los siguientes temas:

 

  • ¿Qué significa un GSP y por qué es importante para su comunidad?
  • ¿Cómo la Ley de Gestión Sostenible del Agua Subterránea (SGMA) define el concepto de "sostenibilidad" y cómo se mide?
  • ¿Qué significa un presupuesto de agua y qué puede significar para usted?
  • ¿Qué puede hacer un modelo de aguas subterráneas, y qué no puede hacer?
  • ¿Qué tipo de preguntas debo hacerle a los asesores?

Fecha: 1º de abril de 2017.

Horario: 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM (almuerzo incluido)

Dónde: Café 210, Salon de Juntas (210 W. Center Ave, Visalia)

 

El cupo es limitado. Regístrese hoy mismo enviando un correo electrónico a Kristin: kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org o llamando al 559-733-0219.


¿Tiene alguna pregunta acerca de este boletín o sobre la Red Comunitaria de Líderes de Agua? Comuníquese con la coordinadora Kristin Dobbin al 559-733-0219 o kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org.

http://www.communitywatercenter.org/


February 2017 CWLN Newsletter

Schools Now Able to Ask for Free Lead Testing from Water Systems

Are students at your local school drinking lead-contaminated water? It’s impossible to know without testing the water at the tap. For that reason a new program will allow California public schools, who aren’t required to test their tap water for lead, to request free lead testing from their public water system.

In late January, the State Water Resources Control Board sent a permit amendment notice to all public water systems in California requiring them to offer free tap water testing for lead contamination to the schools they serve.

Consumption of unsafe water is a serious health risk to children as they are more vulnerable than adults to the health effects of exposure to lead and other contaminants. Lead contamination of water typically occurs when pipes, faucets, or fixtures that contain lead corrode. Neither the state nor the federal Lead and Copper Rule requires tap water testing in schools. Under this new policy, school districts will need to request testing from their public water system in writing.

The school’s water provider will be required to test the water and then discuss remediation options if any of the samples show unsafe levels of lead.

The State Water Board is currently developing the guidelines for $9.5 million in grant funding which was allocated in the 2016-17 state budget to improve access to safe water in schools. This funding may be used to support schools that discover lead contamination as a result of this new testing.

If you would like to learn more about the new lead testing program or schools related funding, please contact CWC's Asha Kreiling at Asha.Kreiling@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346.


Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Initiative

Many diverse stakeholders and decision-makers including the State Water Resources Control Board, the Governor, Community Water Center, the Association of California Water Agencies, and agricultural stakeholders like Western Growers have made addressing barriers to achieving safe and affordable drinking water across the state a core focus this year. CWC and several drinking water advocacy groups are advocating that a new safe and affordable drinking water fund be established to provide a sustainable source of funding for unmet drinking water needs. These unmet needs include funding for ongoing operations and maintenance for drinking water infrastructure which remains a core barrier to implementing the human right to water for small systems.

To support this effort, CWC and our allies have been meeting with legislative and regulatory decision-makers, as well as key agricultural and drinking water stakeholders, to build support for addressing safe and affordable drinking water needs in 2017. Additionally, Community Water Center, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, Clean Water Action, and the A.G.U.A. Coalition held a legislative briefing on February 7 in the state Capitol to talk about safe and affordable drinking water. Dozens of Capitol staffers and members of the Capitol community attended the briefing.

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CWC staff, allies, and Central Valley community residents provided testimony at the Feb. 8 State Water Board workshop on the need for safe, affordable water.

Also as part of this effort, the State Water Resources Control Board held a public informational workshop on February 8th in Sacramento on safe and affordable drinking water. Laurel Firestone Co-Executive Director of the Community Water Center, other drinking water stakeholders, and members of the public participated in discussion panels and provided public testimony in support of serious action to ensuring all communities have safe and affordable drinking water. Around 20 community partners shared their stories and advocated for safe, clean water; as did many nonprofits and public interest group representatives. Encouragingly, the Governor’s January State Budget Proposal included a mention of safe and affordable drinking water, which you can read more about here: http://www.communitywatercenter.org/news_release_water_california_budget_2017

As we continue to advocate for a robust safe and affordable drinking water fund, we will need feedback and support from local water systems. Sign up to stay updated about this important campaign and opportunities to get involved! http://www.communitywatercenter.org/safewater4all


Upcoming hearing on plan for the management of salt and nitrates in the Central Valley

Nitrates, one of the top contaminants impacting drinking water supplies in the Central Valley, pose a serious hazard to public health. Nitrates find their way into groundwater basins primarily from manmade sources such as fertilizers, dairy waste, and wastewater. Salts, another common contaminant, is not particularly hazardous to public health, but it does post a concern to agriculture as water with high levels of salts is not suitable for use one most crops. For over 10 years, dischargers of salts and nitrates (such as farms, dairies, and wastewater treatment plants), in conjunction with the Central Valley Water Board, have been working to develop a plan on how best to regulate salts and nitrates discharges. This process is known as CV-SALTS. The three primary goals of this process are: 1) addressing short & long-term drinking water needs for communities impacted by nitrates; 2) manage and reduce the amount of nitrate that reaches groundwater supplies; and 3) eventually restore the basin. The process is winding down and a draft plan was finally released mid-January and is open for public comment.

On March 9th there is a special Regional Water Board hearing in Rancho Cordova to present the Plan to the Board. While the CV-SALTS Coalition was supposed to be doing education and outreach throughout their plan development process, until now there have been few opportunities for the public, and especially impacted stakeholders like drinking water systems, to engage. Although discouraging, this makes the March 9th meeting all the more important. The Plan developed will have serious, far-reaching and long-lasting impacts upon all users of groundwater, but in particular, drinking water users. Consider attending the hearing on March 9th or finding out more about salt and nutrient regulatory programs and share your thoughts on how the group should achieve their stated goals.

Upcoming events:

  • February 23, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. Online Ethics Training for Board Members (AB1234). Register for free at www.events.rcac.org
  • February 25, 9:30 AM - 2:00 PM. Human Right to Water Roundtable by Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL). Fresno Radisson Hotel (1055 Van Ness Ave). To register, email victor@latinosforwater.org.
  • February 28, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM or 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. Online Google Earth Mapping & Capital Improvement Planning. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • March 1, 11 AM- 12 PM or 2 - 3PM. Environmental Finance Center Network online webinar. Water Audits and Water Loss Control: Gathering your data. Register for free at http://efcnetwork.org/events/webinar-water-audits-water-loss-control-gathering-data/.
  • March 3, RCAC online webinar. Improving Your Operations and Reducing Costs. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • March 7, 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM. Water Stress and a Changing San Joaquin Valley. Hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California and the California Water Institute at Fresno State. Clovis Veterans Memorial District, Clovis, CA. Register for free at http://www.ppic.org/main/event.asp?i=2213.
  • March 21, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. Online Board Basics: Financial management. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • March 22, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM. RCAC online workshop. Online Regulations Basics: Public Notification. Register for free at www.events.rcac.org.
  • March 23-24. WELL (Water Education for Latino Leaders) conference. San Diego Wyndham Hotel. The conference is free and there are scholarships available for food and lodging for elected board members. To register, email victor@latinosforwater.org.
  • April 1, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM. Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop hosted by the Community Water Leaders Network and sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists, Community Water Center and Self Help Enterprises. Cafe 210 in Visalia. To register, email kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org.

More events can be found on the Community Water Leaders online calendar at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network


Picture1.pngFeatured resources of the month:

This month, the State Water Resources Control Board announced the launch of its Human Right to Water Portal, a new website for the public to find information related to efforts to assure that every Californian has access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water. The portal will be updated with more data about water affordability in the coming weeks. Check it out for interactive maps and datasets that depict California’s progress towards achieving the human right to water. http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/ programs/hr2w/index.shtml   

 

 

 


Next Network Briefing: February 23, 4-5 PM

A core component of the Community Water Leaders Network is the monthly conference call that provides members an opportunity to connect with each other, crowd-source questions, and receive information from the comfort of their own homes. To join, simply dial (571) 317-3122, when prompted, enter the access code 611-041-917 followed by the pound key (#). Press # when prompted for the Audio Pin. Let Kristin know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  1. Member updates and questions
  2. Regional and state updates and questions
  3. Monthly discussion topic: Water Quality and Public Health

Save the Date! Groundwater Sustainability Plan Workshop April 1st

Don’t miss the Community Water Leaders Network’s first official workshop! Join us for a free, one-day workshop featuring experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, a national science non-profit. This workshop is designed for small drinking water systems in the Central Valley and will help prepare directors and staff to actively participate in Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) development in your area. The workshop will cover:

  • What is a GSP and why is it important for your community?
  • How does the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) define “sustainability” and how will it be measured?
  • What is a water budget and what can it tell you?
  • What can a groundwater model do, and what can’t it do?
  • What kind of questions should you ask consultants?

 

Date: April 1, 2017

Time: 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM (Lunch provided)

Where: Café 210, Assembly Room (210 W. Center Ave, Visalia)

 

Space is limited to register today by emailing Kristin at kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org or calling 559-733-0219.


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? Contact Kristin Dobbin at 559-733-0219 or kristin.dobbin@communitywatercenter.org .
http://www.communitywatercenter.org/


Standing Room Only: Briefing California Legislators on the Importance of Funding Safe Drinking Water

By Matt Davis

February 7, 2017

Original story: https://www.cleanwateraction.org/2017/02/07/standing-room-only-briefing-california-legislators-importance-funding-safe-drinking-water 

Reposted from Clean Water Action blog

 

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120 people showed for our Capitol briefing in partnership with the AGUA Coalition, Community Water Center and our other allies at The Leadership Counsel for Accountability on access to safe and affordable drinking water this afternoon.

The goal of the meeting was for residents of some of the 300 California communities with unsafe drinking water to talk about what the problem is: Flint in our back yard. There are more residents in California whose drinking water standards are failing than the entire population of Flint, Michigan. 

Take action here now to call on the state to fund safe drinking water for all.

“You can’t turn your faucet on and drink it. We’re paying $60 to $120 a month for water we can’t drink. The only thing you can do is bathe in it and flush it down the toilet,” said Becky Quintana, a resident of Seville, California. “In our school we’re having to bring in porta-potties because we’re running out of water. We shouldn’t have to close the school for health problems. Seville is like a Flint, Michigan. We really need to take care of this issue before it’s put out there into the world about what it’s really like here.”

“Our first well got contaminated in 1990, the second in 1993, and the final one in 2003. They found not only just nitrates, but also TCP. We had to prove to the county that people were getting sick, having rashes and red eyes, from the water,” said Horacio  Anezquita, a farmer and resident of San Jerardo.

“You hear Coachella, you think of the festival. But you look at the families who live there, they have issues with wells which are failing,” said Mariela Magana, from the Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability, who grew up in Coachella.

Senator Eduardo Garcia, chair of the Senate Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, who represents Coachella, told the crowd: “We have to be mindful of the costs, but also putting forward the public health interests of the people we represent.”

Strong majorities of Californians are willing to pay as much as four dollars a month on their water bill to fix unsafe levels of drinking water contamination, according to polling by Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates, who recently conducted phone interviews with 1,000 California voters to assess their views on threats to drinking water.

81% of Californians are familiar with water contamination problems in Flint, Michigan, which first came to light nationally more than two years ago.

Take action here now to call on the state to fund safe drinking water for all.

The briefing precedes a briefing tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8, hosted by the State Water Resources Control Board to present important, newsworthy new data on opportunities to secure safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians.

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published Community Water Resiliency in Get Involved 2017-01-20 14:39:07 -0800

Community Water Resiliency

Last May, Governor Brown passed Executive Order B-37-16 which aims to improve drought planning and resiliency in California communities, and make water conservation a way of life throughout the state. The Order provides urban water agencies guidance for developing new water use targets permanently prohibits wasteful water practices. It recommends the development of Water Shortage Contingency Plans (both for urban water agencies and small, rural water systems), and updates to Agricultural Water Management Plans. 

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We are working to ensure our most vulnerable communities (particularly small and rural communities, and private well owners) have the tools necessary to successfully implement this Executive Order. A group of nonprofits, including CWC, developed comment letters and messaging resources to aid in this work (see below). 

If you are interested in becoming involved with this work, contact Kelsey Hinton at kelsey.hinton@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346. 

Resources:

 

Comment Letters:


Allensworth and Alpaugh Featured in Groundwater Matters Film Premiere

Talking about groundwater regulations and governance can occasionally seem a little dry and boring, but it’s a huge issue for California. And while the drought may be dry, its potential implications for the state are anything but boring.

In fact, the future of California as a whole is tied up in the health of groundwater basins. Did you know, for example, that groundwater has been providing nearly two-thirds of the state’s water supply during the recent drought? Even if your water supply doesn’t use groundwater, there’s a good chance you’re connected to a system that does.

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The NGO Groundwater Collaborative is premiering it's film "Groundwater Matters" soon and you can be part of it! See CWC's own Regional Water Management Coordinator, Kristin Dobbin, as well as local communities Allensworth and Alpaugh featured during the film. Sign up here, to reserve your spot in their upcoming webinar where the full film will be premiered and watch the trailer here!


published AGUA and CWC Host Federal EPA Officials in Water Blog 2016-10-07 10:11:49 -0700

AGUA and CWC Host Federal EPA Officials

Last month, the AGUA Coalition and CWC hosted federal officials from the US EPA’s Office of Water to share their experiences and expertise as the federal agency develops its National Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water. 29 community leaders from the San Joaquin Valley held a roundtable discussion with federal EPA Office of Water administrators, as well as administrators at EPA Region 9 and the State Water Board.

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The participants shared powerful testimony about the need for better enforcement and funding to ensure that small, low-income communities have safe water. Individuals shared stories of receiving conflicting notices about water safety. For instance, Seville residents had recently received a boil water notice that said to boil water to address bacterial contamination, but not to serve boiled water to infants because it might have high nitrate levels. These confusing messages, which left older residents wondering why their health wasn’t of concern with nitrates, which can cause cancer through long-term consumption. Fresno residents shared that their annual Consumer Confidence Report, which explains water quality data, required residents to look online for the results and did not make the Spanish-language version easy to access online. Residents of Arvin explained that although they live in a low-income community, they have had great difficulty accessing adequate funding to finance a water treatment facility, which means residents have been dealing with arsenic-contaminated water for over 10 years. Many residents from drought-impacted communities shared stories of the extreme hardship of living without any running water. They expressed that federal funding needs to be made available for low-income communities which have never had centralized infrastructure to secure safe and affordable water, often through consolidations and interties.

Following the roundtable, federal and state officials visited Seville and East Porterville to learn more about the situation in communities impacted by water quality and supply challenges. The visits made visible the need for better coordination and communication between agencies and the public with regards to issues of water supply and reliability.


Farmers say, ‘No apologies,’ as well drilling hits record levels in San Joaquin Valley

By Ryan Sabalow, Dale Kasler and Phillip Reese

September 25, 2015

Original article: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article103987631.html

Drive through rural Tulare County and you’ll hear it soon enough, a roar from one of the hundreds of agricultural pumps pulling water from beneath the soil to keep the nut and fruit orchards and vast fields of corn and alfalfa lush and green under the scorching San Joaquin Valley sun.

Well water is keeping agriculture alive in Tulare County – and much of the rest of the San Joaquin Valley – through five years of California’s historic drought. Largely cut off from the supplies normally delivered via canals by the federal and state water projects, farmers have been drilling hundreds of feet into the ground to bring up the water they need to turn a profit.

Two years after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill designed to limit groundwater pumping, new wells are going in faster and deeper than ever. Farmers dug about 2,500 wells in the San Joaquin Valley last year alone, the highest number on record. That was five times the annual average for the previous 30 years, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis of state and local data.

The new groundwater law won’t kick in until 2020, and won’t become fully implemented for another 20 years. In the meantime, farmers say they will continuing drilling and pumping. It’s their right, they say, and their only practical choice given the government’s limited surface water deliveries.

“Just like a guy that owns a hardware store who sells nothing but shovels, say I cut you off and decide not to supply you with shovels, are you going to close your store or are you going to get shovels from somebody else?” said Wayne Western Jr., a wine grape grower near Firebaugh in the parched west side of Fresno County.

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“It’s a business. I’ll make no apologies for trying to stay in business and being successful,” said Western, who’s been relying almost exclusively on well water the past three years. “That’s what we do here.”

Part of what’s driving the well-drilling frenzy is a kind of groundwater arms race. Aquifers don’t respect property lines, and in many cases farmers with older, shallower wells are afraid of losing water to neighbors who are digging deeper wells and lowering the groundwater table. So they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to drill new wells of their own. All told, farmers are expected to spend $303 million this year alone to pump groundwater, according to UC Davis researchers.

“Business is good; we’ve got plenty of work to do,” said driller Steve Arthur, who runs Arthur & Orum Well Drilling Inc. in Fresno.

On a recent weekday, Arthur was overseeing the drilling of a massive 1,200-foot well beneath an almond orchard in the tiny Tulare County community of Poplar. A few years ago, the typical well was only half as deep.

“These farmers, they’re learning if they go deeper, they’re going to get more water and they won’t have to drill as often,” Arthur said, shouting over the din of a drill rig. “If the government don’t give us any water, what’s the farmer supposed to do?”

The new well in Poplar cost about $260,000.

Arthur said he expects to drill about 260 new wells this year throughout the San Joaquin Valley. That’s about the same as last year, although the well-drilling industry isn’t quite as frantic now. Prices for new wells are off slightly, and some of Arthur’s Johnny-come-lately competitors – the so-called “drought chasers” – have left town. But Arthur, who farms 200 acres of almonds, said he thinks the well-drilling business won’t sputter anytime soon.

“When the farmer gets up in the morning, the last thing he wants to do is spend $200,000, $300,000 on a well,” Arthur said. “But if he wants to stay in business, that’s what he’s got to do.”

From 2012 through 2015, San Joaquin Valley farmers dug more than 5,000 wells, more than were dug cumulatively over the previous 12 years.

In Fresno and Tulare counties, where most of the drilling occurred, officials issued an average of almost 10 agricultural well permits every business day in 2015, though not all of those permits were used. That pace has fallen some in the first few months of 2016, but remains well above pre-drought levels. Tulare and Fresno are two of the three largest agricultural counties in the state, as measured by farm revenue.

As farmers ramp up drilling and install larger, more powerful pumps, aquifers that had quietly flourished beneath the soil for thousands of years are dropping at dangerous rates. It’s accelerating a phenomenon known as subsidence, in which some parts of the valley floor are sinking.

The problems of groundwater overdraft are most pronounced in the San Joaquin Valley, but they’re not limited to there.

“It’s a five-alarm fire in the San Joaquin Valley,” said Jay Ziegler of the Nature Conservancy, which has pleaded for stricter statewide restrictions on pumping. “But it’s a four-alarm fire in other areas around the state.”

The well drilling has exacted a substantial human cost in some of California’s poorest rural communities – the ones populated by workers who tend the fields kept green by all that groundwater.

Falling water tables mean underground pollutants become more concentrated, and in some cases municipal drinking-water wells fail altogether. By one estimate, about 30 percent of the communities in Tulare County have had problems with failing wells.

In East Porterville, hundreds of residents lost water in recent years. Tomas Garcia remembers the day in April 2014 when his shallow well failed. At work at a local tire shop, he got a call from his wife when their shower suddenly stopped working. What followed was a year of hauling water in 5-gallon buckets, to the point that the shocks on the family van blew out.

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“No church, nothing. I was just hauling water,” he said. “I had no time for my family.” He also didn’t have the $55,000 necessary to drill down to reach the receding groundwater.

In April 2015, Garcia’s house was connected to a 2,500-gallon water tank that’s refilled by tanker truck once a week. Like hundreds of other homes in East Porterville, where some streets are unpaved and the sounds of barking dogs and braying livestock mingle with mariachi music, the black tank now takes up most of the Garcia family’s small front yard, an obelisk-like monument to the drought.

Just recently the town got a lifeline when officials announced it would be hooked up to the municipal water supply in nearby Porterville. All told, the state estimates it has spent more than $148 million bringing drinking water to Tulare County communities where municipal wells failed because of dropping groundwater levels.

One of the more recent crises flared in August in Woodville, a largely agricultural town of 1,700 surrounded by farm fields and irrigation pumps. One of its two drinking water wells suffered a mechanical failure that the utility district attributed to fluctuations in the water table.

Without enough flow to stave off bacterial contamination, town officials issued an advisory urging residents to boil water. It stayed in place for nearly three weeks before the well could be repaired. At the elementary school, across the street from a fruit and nut processing plant, signs on doors and above drinking fountains warned students, “Don’t drink the water.”

During the crisis, Ralph Gutierrez, manager of Woodville’s utility district, said that because there wasn’t enough pressure in the town’s waterlines, he had no choice but to cite residents he caught spritzing lawns and landscaping with garden hoses.

He noted with irony that even as he was fining residents for their water use, he recently counted 60 new agricultural wells just outside town during one week of his daily commute.

But the response he got was icy when he suggested to farmers at a recent community meeting that they accept limits on groundwater pumping.

“If looks could kill, I would have been crucified,” said Gutierrez, a familiar figure around town with his bushy mustache, weathered Dodgers cap and pack of smokes in his shirt pocket.

Others have pushed for local pumping limits, with similar results.

Kristin Dobbin, who works at a Visalia nonprofit advocacy group called the Community Water Center, has been pushing the Tulare Board of Supervisors to adopt a county ordinance that would put limits on groundwater. Supervisors have yet to cast a vote more than a year later.

Steve Worthley, one of the supervisors, said he’s wary of limiting groundwater pumping, given agriculture’s importance to Tulare County. Besides, there’s always the possibility that the rains might return and the groundwater pumping will taper off.

“There might become a weather pattern where we might be like Louisiana, where we might get more water than we know what to do with,” Worthley said. “So we want to be careful we don’t put into place laws that hamstring our ability to be the fruit basket of the nation.”

In conversations throughout the valley, it’s also clear that farmers seethe with anger at the government for not sending more surface water their way. While much of California remains unusually dry, precipitation levels returned to normal in Northern California last winter, bringing key reservoirs back to relatively healthy levels.

Farmers feel they haven’t gotten their fair share of that water. The reason? State and federal officials allowed more water to flow through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and out to the Pacific Ocean during portions of winter and spring to try to revive the native fish species, including salmon and smelt, whose numbers have plummeted in the drought.

“The farmers need the water, you know,” said Kulwant Gadri, a Tulare County almond grower who’s spending more than $1 million this year on new wells. If an almond orchard goes longer than two months without it, “the orchard is gone.”

The situation is getting so dire, said Arthur, the Fresno well driller, that he questions whether the 2014 state law placing limits on pumping will ever get implemented.

“They stop drilling wells, they’re going to kill this valley,” he said. “They may never get this law going.”

State officials say the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act will take effect. But, by design, it’s a go-slow approach and doesn’t directly put limits on drilling.

Instead, starting in 2020, newly formed groundwater management agencies overseeing basins deemed critically overdrafted must develop plans for making their aquifers sustainable within 20 years. “Sustainable” generally means districts must ensure groundwater basins don’t drop below their January 2015 levels, said David Gutierrez, who is supervising the rollout of the new law at the state Department of Water Resources.

Gutierrez defends the gradual approach, arguing that bringing a swift halt to groundwater pumping would cripple a farm economy that’s already struggling. After a string of record years, farm revenue last year fell by $9 billion statewide, in part because of water shortages but also because of declining prices in key commodities.

“We can’t afford to swing so quickly and so fast,” Gutierrez said. “We’re not going to turn it on a dime. ...We have to understand the social ramification of what we’re doing, too.”

The go-slow concept was driven home in the state Legislature this year. Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, introduced a bill sponsored by the Nature Conservancy that in effect would have put the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act on a faster track. Her bill, SB 1317, would have prohibited counties from issuing permits for new wells that would have contributed to “undesirable impacts” in critically overdrafted groundwater basins.

The bill narrowly passed the Senate, but failed to get a hearing in the Assembly amid significant opposition. Among those weighing in: the California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau Federation and associations representing rice, tomato, cotton and citrus growers.

Back in Woodville, utility manager Ralph Gutierrez says officials need to act soon to prevent more wells from failing in other impoverished communities. He fears regulators are forgetting that farmworkers in these towns play as important a role in California agriculture as the groundwater farmers are pumping into their crops.

“Without farming, would this community be here? No,” he said. “Would the farming happen if we didn’t have farmworkers? No. So, you know, I don’t know what the answer is, but we’ve got to find a happy medium somewhere, because we can’t exist without the other.”

JIM MILLER OF THE BEE’S CAPITOL BUREAU CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.

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Sequía espolea a vecinos a organizarse para conseguir agua

Rubén Tapia

agosto 26, 2016

https://radiobilingue.org/features/sequia-espolea-a-vecinos-a-organizarse-para-conseguir-agua/

 

Se escucha ladrido de perros…

Es un caluroso domingo en este seco valle agrícola y Erasto Terán, uno de los promotores del Centro Comunitario por el Agua -CWC por sus siglas en Inglés- visita la casa de su amigo, Everardo Suárez.

-¿Hola cómo estás? –pregunta Erasto.
-Bien.

Erasto lee en voz alta para Everardo y su esposa la solicitud que iniciaría los trámites para conectar su propiedad al sistema municipal de agua potable:

“El propósito de este proyecto es proveer para la comunidad del Este de Porterville, un suministro permanente de agua segura y limpia en su hogar…”

Everardo Suárez  firma consentimiento para conectarse a la red de agua de Porterville. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Everardo Suárez firma consentimiento para conectarse a la red de agua de Porterville. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Everardo es un trabajador agrícola que ha vivido casi la mitad de sus 63 años en esta propiedad. Es uno de los cerca de dos mil jefes de familia, en su mayoría jornaleros agrícolas, que desde hace más de tres años se quedaron sin agua cuando a muchos se les secaron sus pozos. Suárez aceptó firmar.

-¿La tercera línea? –dice Everardo.

-Todas las líneas que están –responde Erasto.

Everardo:

“Oh, claro que sí que estoy contento, porque ya vamos a tener agua. Nos la van a conectar y eso es muy bueno”

Sin perder tiempo, Erasto Terán, veterano ex organizador de la Unión Campesina recibe una llamada de otro de los afectados por la sequía.

-¿Ya mandaron su forma?” –pregunta Erasto por el teléfono.

-No, apenas llegaron-, contesta el otro afectado.

-Mira, llena la forma de consentimiento y mañana me la das para entregarla a la ciudad y que empiecen el proceso de documentación.

-OK.

 Marisela Corona acaba de perforar un pozo por casi 30 mil dólares. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Marisela Corona acaba de perforar un pozo por casi 30 mil dólares. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Pero no todos los residentes aceptan así de fácil. De hecho, hasta la fecha sólo una de cada cinco familias ha iniciado los trámites. Una condición es que el jefe de familia dé permiso a las autoridades para que clausuren su pozo de manera permanente. Y aunque no habría costo para la familia, eso no le gusta a Marisela Corona, una joven trabajadora agrícola, casada y con tres hijos menores de diez años.

Marisela:

“Pues es que ahorita nosotros acabamos de hacer el pozo nuevo y gastamos mucho dinero”

¿Cuánto es lo que gastaron?

Marisela: “Cerca de 30 mil dólares”

Maricela reconoce que se arriesga a seguir dependiendo para sus necesidades del agua embotellada y para uso doméstico de lo que les da de emergencia el gobierno. Pero aun así se niega a firmar el consentimiento.

Marisela:

“Horita por lo pronto, no. Más adelante si fuera obligación, pues a ver si nos pudieran ayudar con el dinero que gastamos”

Asamblea informativa en East Porterville, moderada por Ryan Jensen del CWC. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Asamblea informativa en East Porterville, moderada por Ryan Jensen del CWC. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Sonido de gente llegando a junta comunitaria…

Tomás García:

“Pásele, pásele a lo barrido…”

Tomás García es un residente y activista que después de medio día de tocar puertas recibe a uno de los más de 200 vecinos que se animaron a llegar a esta asamblea informativa. Recuerda cómo cuando se secó su pozo cambió la vida de su familia.

Tomás:

“Para llegar a tu casa prender la llave y no encontrar agua es muy difícil y estresante… Después de 10 -11 horas de trabajo, llegar a tu casa y estar vaciando cubetas de agua a los tanques para tener agua para el otro día… Tus hijos diciéndote que el agua para bañarse no les alcanza, que no tiene agua para ‘flushar’ los ‘toilets’, ies muy estresante!”

Tomás afirma que así pasaron más de seis meses.

Tomás García, afectado y activista de EP4WJ. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Tomás García, afectado y activista de EP4WJ. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

“Mi familia me dijo, hey Daddy, vamos a movernos a la ciudad. Y le digo: m’ija, si me muevo de aquí nos vamos, está bien, pero el problema se nos va a quedar atrás”

Se decidieron organizar y con otros vecinos afectados formaron el East Porterville for Water Justice, en febrero pasado. Con la presión de ésta y varias organizaciones, el gobierno decidió destinar millones de dólares para suministrarles mensualmente agua de uso doméstico y agua embotellada. Pero ya que esta ayuda es temporal, consiguieron que la ciudad de Porteville aceptara extender su sistema de agua municipal al desatendido poblado, que queda en territorio del Condado de Tulare.

Sonido de asamblea…

Ryan Jensen, del CWC: “Gracias a todos por venir…”

Después de meses de cabildeo, por fin las autoridades conectaron al sistema a una familia. Esto fue la semana pasada. Dionisio Ramírez es el jefe de la primera familia donde ya fluye el agua de la llave.

Dionisio:

“Pues contento de recibir el agua ya…”

Dionisio Ramírez, jefe de primer familia en conectarse al agua de Porterville. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Dionisio Ramírez, jefe de primer familia en conectarse al agua de Porterville. Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Los afectados, activistas y autoridades tienen prisa, el tiempo se les acaba para motivar a más vecinos, señala Julie Philips, funcionaria de Porterville, quien también desafío el inclemente calor para tocar puertas.

Julie Philips:

“The September 1st deadline is the deadline to get the consent forms sign. We are really hoping we can get folks to sign this consent form and know what sort of interest there is”

(El primero de septiembre es la fecha límite para que firmen los consentimientos. En realidad esperamos que la gente los firme para medir el nivel de interés que existe en la comunidad).

Phillips asegura que por medio de esta consulta se trata de conocer la cantidad de agua que demandarían los nuevos usuarios y asegurar suficientes fondos para todos. Espera que este próximo domingo, más vecinos asistan a la asamblea para seguir llenando los consentimientos.

Pero la sequía y la contaminación siguen afectando a otras comunidades, dice Terán:

“Por ejemplo; Manson, Seville, Sultana, Kettle, Orosi…”

Lleno de optimismo, Tomás García espera que sus residentes tomen nota de su experiencia:

Ryan Jensen de CWC da instrucciones… Foto: Rubén Tapia.

Ryan Jensen de CWC da instrucciones… Foto: Rubén Tapia.

“Para que otras comunidades se unan, y también sigan a delante con su lucha. ¡Si se puede!”

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White House Honors Tulare County Water Advocate

By Kerry Klein

August 9, 2016

Original story: https://kvpr.org/post/white-house-honors-tulare-county-water-advocate

When we talk about water in the San Joaquin Valley, it’s often to highlight water problems, like dry wells, contaminated drinking water or, more recently, toxic algae in lakes and reservoirs. But the news isn’t all bad: local advocate Susana De Anda recently received an award from the White House for her work bringing clean water to San Joaquin Valley communities. She's the co-director and co-founder of the Community Water Center, a non-profit that lobbies policymakers, pursues grants and helps communities organize around gaining access to safe drinking water. FM89’s Kerry Klein sat down with De Anda at her office in Visalia to talk water, climate, and what it means to be a White House “Champion of Change.”

“Every year, over a million Californians are exposed to illegal and unsafe contaminants found in their drinking water,” says De Anda. “In addition to that, we're paying some really expensive water rates for toxic water. What that means is that our hard-working familias are having to pay twice for water: for a toxic water bill, and then, in addition to that, having to find additional drinking water just to have safe drinking water in the home.

“It is not okay to have nitrates in your drinking water. It is not safe to have arsenic or 1,2,3-TCP or anything of that nature in your drinking water. It's just not safe and it shouldn't be there.”

De Anda, second from right, speaks at a White House panel with five other Champions of Change for Climate Equity.
CREDIT COMMUNITY WATER CENTER

The White House recently named De Anda a Champion of Change for Climate Equity, an award she ascribes to the center’s focus on tailoring its water projects to each individual community it works with.

“Climate equity means that we're bringing about solutions to people impacted by climate change in a way that's practical and real,” she says. “We have to really sit around the table and figure out solutions that are going to be applicable to the unique situations of our communities. That's equity.

“And I think it's important to recognize that climate change is very real and it's happening right now with a lot of our community partners. A lot of families right now in California don't have running water, and I think it's important to understand that water quality and water supply go hand in hand.”

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signed Safe Water in Schools 2016-08-09 10:44:52 -0700

Safe Water in Schools: Learn More and Get Involved!

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Want to learn more about what's in your school's water or understand the challenges California schools face in accessing safe water? 

Please sign up below to join our Safe Water in Schools Team. We will keep you up to date about opportunities to test your school's water and apply for funding to receive new, filtered water bottle filling stations.

Water testing: 

Neither the state nor the federal Lead and Copper Rule requires tap water testing in schools, but a new program allows California public schools to request FREE lead testing from their water provider.

Lead contamination of water typically occurs when pipes, faucets, or fixtures that contain lead corrode. Consumption of unsafe water is a serious health risk to children as they are more vulnerable than adults to the health effects of exposure to lead and other contaminants. Drinking lead-contaminated water can cause behavior and learning problems, hearing problems, anemia, and in rare cases, seizures, coma, and even death.

Not taking action is not an option. Your school districts should request testing in writing to take advantage of this opportunity. Proactive testing is the first step towards remediation and protecting children from the harmful and irreversible health effects of lead consumption..

If any samples do show unsafe levels of lead, the water system will discuss with the school remediation options, and staff at the SWRCB are also available to provide support. $9.5 million in grant funding for filtered water stations will be available to schools facing water challenges, such as lead contamination, this year. For more information on the Safe Drinking Water In Schools Program, check out the State Water Resources Control Board's analysis on grants and technical assistance

There may also be additional funding possibilities for school modernization and facilities upgrades related to clean drinking water. Proposition 51, also known as the California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, was passed in November of 2016, and allocates over $9 billion to schools for safety, new construction, special programs, and modernizing. It is our belief that this money could (and should!) be utilized by school districts to ensure that aging pipes and infrastructure remain within compliance and below Maximum Contaminant Level thresholds, and that private wells become integrated into broader public water systems. Urge your local school's administration to consider applying for funding! 

Here are some fast facts on water quality in California schools, taken from our report "Are We Providing Our School Kids Safe Drinking Water? An Analysis of California Schools Impacted by Unsafe Drinking Water."

  • As many as 1,048,222 students attended schools impacted by water systems that did not meet primary safe drinking water standards during the period from 2003-2014.
  • Bacterial and arsenic violations were the most common types of violations impacting schools, followed by the pesticide DBCP, disinfectant byproducts, and nitrates.
  • Multiple-year violations were found in up to nine percent of schools, with some schools impacted for a decade or more.
  • While the problem exists statewide, the Central Valley had both the greatest number and highest percentage of schools in the region impacted by unsafe drinking water.
  • One in four schools in the Central Valley and one in three schools in the Tulare Lake region were impacted by unsafe drinking water.
  • Schools impacted by unsafe drinking water had higher percentages of Hispanic and Latino students and socioeconomically disadvantaged students.
  • State agencies do not currently have access to sufficient information to assess the magnitude of the problem and ensure that children have safe drinking water at school.

Read more: Are We Providing Our School Kids Safe Drinking Water? An Analysis of California Schools Impacted by Unsafe Drinking Water, a report by CWC & the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water

Please sign up for our Schools Team below so we can keep you in the loop about upcoming opportunities to test your school's water and get funding for safe water bottle filling stations.

14 signatures

published Annual Report 2015 in Water Blog 2016-08-05 14:24:27 -0700

Annual Report 2015

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We just released our first Annual Report! Check it out to learn more about the great work done by community partners and staff in 2015, and to see what we're focusing on as 2016 continues. It also includes ways YOU can get involved in the water justice movement! 

Click here the read the annual report. 


published County looking at well drilling ordinance in Water Blog 2016-08-04 11:56:04 -0700

County looking at well drilling ordinance

July 27, 2016

Original story: http://www.recorderonline.com/news/county-looking-at-well-drilling-ordinance/article_59c05c80-53af-11e6-9639-53a9ab22082e.html

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Some feel it will not go far enough

Tulare County District 1 Supervisor Allen Ishida knows the importance of water and farming, but he also knows the situation the county has found itself in with dropping well levels.

Ishida, who also chairs the county’s Water Commission, said an ordinance to place some restrictions on well drilling is being drafted and could come before the county board of supervisors by the end of August.

That is not soon enough for Kristin Dobbin with the Community Water Center who feels with more domestic water wells failing every day, time is of the essence. Also, Dobbin feels the draft ordinance she has seen does not go far enough to curb the pumping of the underground water supply.

Dobbin addressed the supervisors at their meeting Tuesday, saying she was concerned with the delay in getting the ordinance before the board and debated.

“We know the underground water draft is a crisis,” she told supervisors after saying another 81 wells have failed in the county in just the past couple of weeks.

Tulare County has been the epicenter of the water crisis in California, with more than 1,500 well failures in the past two years. While many of those have been fixed, there are still hundreds of wells dry, especially in East Porterville.
Dobbin feels an ordinance restricting new wells is needed, but is disappointed the county may not take that aggressive of an approach.

“We would like protections to be as meaningful as possible,” she told The Recorder Tuesday.
Ishida said what will go before the board are two recommendations. The first is to ban any well drilling on ag land which has not been farmed in at least 10 years. Another recommendation is for the county to hire a hydrologist to establish a buffer zone between wells — domestic and ag — so one well does not impact another.

The ordinance has been debated for months and according to Dobbin, the first recommendation of a joint meeting of the Water Commission and the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee was for the county to develop an ordinance similar to one passed in Stanislaus County, which she said is more restrictive in permitting new wells. She would like the county to consider a similar ordinance.

That Stanislaus ordinance, she explained, requires a process where a new well request has to be evaluated as to its impact on the groundwater supply, before it can be approved. Exempt are wells which produce less than 2 acre feet of water a year, but the evaluation would apply to almost all ag wells. Dobbin said the burden of providing that study would be on the applicant.

“We would like to see sustainability,” she said, adding they feel the county is getting farther away from reducing the dependence on groundwater.

The drought and a lack of surface water for irrigation has forced farmers to depend more and more on pumping water from the underground to keep their crops alive. Thousands of acres of ag land were not farmed in the past two years because of a lack of water deliveries from the Friant water system. Farmers got no surface water in 2014 and 2015. Growers are getting water from the Friant-Kern Canal this summer.

Another recommendation, said Ishida, and this came from the Ag Committee, is to do nothing and wait for the Sustainable Groundwater Act (SGMA) to go into effect, but Ishida said that may not be until 2019 or 2020. SGMA will limit how much water can be pumped from the underground and current figures are limiting the pumping to a half of an acre foot of water per acre, per year. That is far too little to grow a crop or keep and orchard alive.

The county, as are most counties in the state, are coming up with their water basins and plans how to implement SGMA which has a deadline of 2020 to have plans in place.

He said the state is telling the county it must do something now to reduce the pumping of the underground water supply which has been dropping for years.

“They want us to take action,” he said. “The state has told us they expect us to do something about the depletion of the groundwater,” he added.

Ishida explained what they are considering will not have much of an impact. It will mostly impact foothill areas used as rangeland where a grower may now want to put in a deep well and plant an orchard.

The supervisor said the ordinance will have a very minimal impact on the groundwater supply.

Dobbin said the county has an opportunity to pass a stronger ordinance which may restrict new wells, especially ag wells, and reduce the amount of pumping of groundwater. She said a stricter ordinance could help those residents whose wells are dry.
Ishida said the matter will come before the board Aug. 23 or 30 for direction. Then hearings will be held and the earliest the ordinance would take effect is around the first of the year.

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State workshop informs water users 117 Kern County wells have levels of TCP

By Anne Di Grazia

July 26, 2016

Original story: http://www.kerngoldenempire.com/news/117-kern-county-wells-have-levels-of-tcp

 

It was once classified as a "safe" pesticide by Central Valley farmers and an "okay" cleaning product. But 1-2-3 TCP is far from safe. It is an colorless, odorless, cancer-causing chemical that has leaked into our groundwater.

Isabel Martinez and Jerry Tinoco live in Arvin and claim the water is contaminated.

"You know our people is dying that's not fair that's not fair at all," Martinez said.

"We have 1-2-3 TCP and Arsenic in the water, we don't have safe drinking water in Arvin," Tinoco said.

During the state water board presentation they learned 471 public water system wells across the state are tainted with 1-2-3 TCP. According to officials, 117 of those wells are here in Kern, the highest number in the state.

State Water Board spokesperson, Andrew DiLuccia, said those are private wells they are public wells that serve 15 or more connections.

To ensure clean drinking water the board is looking to develop a maximum contaminant level schedule to hold providers accountable, making sure they are testing water and monitoring constantly. Informing the public of 1-2-3 TCP contamination and treating appropriately.

"It will have a legal enforcement which we don't have right now in order to get water systems back in compliance," DiLuccia said.

A long term plan that won't start until 2018 but will give the community hope.

"It's a big step for them to come down to the valley, to the belly of the beast, and educate the residents, the people who are affected directly," Tinoco said.

The board said it will use public input to establish it's final maximum contaminant level recommendation. If you missed today's meeting and want more information click here.

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Cal Water quells fears of 1,2,3 TCP in drinking water

By Cassie Carlisle

July 8, 2016

Original story: http://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/cal-water-quells-fears-of-123-tcp-in-drinking-water-070816

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Cal Water Service is quelling concerns of a carcinogen in Bakersfield's drinking water.

After 23ABC reported high levels of 1,2,3 trichloropropane in the system in June, the water company received dozens of calls and emails from residents.

"I took a number of calls, and I explained to our customers exactly what I am explaining to you," District Manager Rudy Valles said.

Valles said the main concern was the annual water report that showed a level 200 times the recommended level of the carcinogen 1,2,3 TCP in some areas of Bakersfield.

Valles explained that number was attained as a combination of the tested wells.

"Our system has 950 plus miles of water main and our wells are in various locations, so when we're pumping into the system, it's diluted," Valles said.

Valles added that if a well itself contained a level 100 times the recommendation, it would be shut down immediately.

"We haven't had to do that yet," Valles said.

123tcp_abc23.jpg

The State Water Board is holding a meeting July 20th at City Hall to talk with the public about their concerns with TCP, and work on creating a maximum contaminant level.

Creating that level would then prompt water companies to comply and put filters in place to take out the chemical.

"We're ready, we just need that number," Valles said the level may not be set until 2017.

Once it is set, Valles said they already have designs ready with a granular activated carbon filter that will be put in place.

The company is waiting until that level is set, so they put the appropriate sized filter on their water lines.

Valles said he couldn't say how long levels of TCP have been in the water. Lawsuits between Shell Oil and various water companies throughout California say it started in the 1940's.

Shell Oil and Dow released a pesticide to kill nematodes, a microscopic worm that harms crops, and contains TCP. The chemical then contaminated aquifers.

If you would like to test your water, there are a couple labs in Bakersfield that provide the service. BC Lab s can test TCP levels in 10 days for $225.

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