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A lot has changed in the last few weeks. Not only in our communities, but throughout the country and the world. I hope you are staying healthy and in good spirits and that you and your family are well.
Here’s something that hasn’t changed: The Community Water Center is still fighting to protect access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water, especially during these difficult times.
Before shelter-in-place orders took effect, we visited legislators to discuss water protection for vulnerable communities. We since joined a coalition of water advocates urging an immediate statewide moratorium on water shutoffs and other immediate emergency steps to maintain and restore access to water.
We also created a web portal containing helpful information and resources for you. Go to www.communitywatercenter.org/covid19 to view it.
We’re continuing to reach out to our community partners and allies to understand how people’s access to water is being impacted at this time. We want to hear from you. Let us know if you’re having issues with accessing clean, safe, and affordable drinking water, so that we can ensure your concerns are heard by state and local decision makers.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 733-0219.
Stay informed, stay healthy, and take care of one another.
Susana De Anda
CWC Launches COVID-19 Community Resources Page
During this uncertain and difficult time, we are working alongside community partners and allies to ensure that vulnerable communities in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast have access to the resources they need AND to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. We have launched a page on our website with information and resources: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/covid19
Visit our website to learn the actions CWC is taking to protect access to water during this time. We are currently advocating for an immediate statewide moratorium on water shutoffs, conducting outreach to community members, assessing the impact to vulnerable communities, and connecting people to available resources. Learn more about:
- CWC COVID-19 Response
- Is your access to water being affected? Tell us.
- CWC urges a moratorium on all utility shutoffs and evictions
- COVID-19 Resources & Know Your Rights
Download our community resources fact sheet here: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/covid19resources
CWC/Coalition Urges Statewide Moratorium on Water Shutoffs
CWC joined a coalition of water advocates in submitting a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19, 2020, requesting that he implement an immediate statewide moratorium on water shutoffs, and to take other immediate emergency steps to maintain and restore access to water in vulnerable communities.
We are hearing from residents of disadvantaged communities and low-income households that water shutoffs due to inability to pay water bills are continuing during the state of emergency. We are also hearing from residents with unsafe tap water that bottled water is very difficult to find in stores right now. As one example, residents of communities in Tulare County currently lack access to safe water due to a change in the administrator of their state-funded bottled water delivery program, and residents have told us that it has been nearly impossible to find replacement water in local stores. This is proving true for many small communities that depend on corner stores for day-to-day needs.
As such, we asked as a follow-up to his executive order dated March 16, 2020 that he take the following additional actions to protect access to water for Californians:
- Require immediate restoration of water service to all residential homes impacted by water shutoff before or during this state of emergency.
- Institute a statewide moratorium on residential water shutoffs during the term of the state of emergency.
- Direct the State Water Resources Control Board, with the assistance of the Office of Emergency Services, to establish emergency drinking water distribution and delivery programs to ensure that all Californians, especially those without safe tap water and those experiencing homelessness, have access to drinking water during this crisis.
- Direct the State Water Resources Control Board to provide emergency assistance to small water systems impacted by nonpayment of water bills during the state of emergency.
- Require state/local agency replacement water programs to streamline eligibility requirements and provide emergency funding as needed to make these programs accessible to as many people as possible.
- Direct the State Water Resources Control Board to suspend payments on state revolving fund loans for financially-challenged water systems.
- Direct relevant state agencies to encourage Californians with safe tap water or adequate filtration systems not to purchase unnecessary quantities of bottled water from stores, as many Californians rely on bottled water as their only source of safe water for drinking, cooking and sanitation.
CWC Honors Water Justice Leaders at Award Ceremony
More than 80 people attended our Water Justice Leadership Awards (WJLA) in Sacramento on March 10 as we honored four water justice leaders for standing up to make the human right to water a reality.
Our yearly event is an opportunity to recognize leaders who have worked tirelessly, often against great odds, to protect the right of safe drinking water in California.
Thanks to our generous donors, this year’s event also raised about $60,000 to continue the struggle for ensuring that all Californians have access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water!
This year’s water justice champions (pictured left to right above) included:
- Jared Blumenfeld, Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency, on behalf of the Newsom Administration
- Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia (56th Assembly District)
- Melynda Metheney, member of the AGUA Coalition and West Goshen community leader
- Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of California Natural Resources Agency, on behalf of the Newsom Administration
Congratulations to the honorees and thank you to our generous donors for making this event possible!
Water Activists to Talk to Legislators About Protecting Drinking Water Access
Tulare County community members met with elected representatives from the Central Valley and the Central Coast in Sacramento on March 10 to discuss the importance of drought planning for small and rural communities and to urge legislative support for SB 971.
SB 971, the Drought Resilient Communities Act, will help ensure small and rural communities are better prepared for drought and water shortage.
The last drought represented nothing less than a human catastrophe for thousands of
Californians who lost water. In the hard hit Central Valley, many families were left without running water for several months. Some for years.
Having just experienced the driest February on record, it is crucial that the state take necessary measures to ensure all communities are prepared for an approaching drought.
We must do better as a state to prevent what happened during the last drought from happening again. The Drought Resilient Communities Act (SB 971) represents a historic effort to help prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water for areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
2020 Spring Civic Engagement Program a Success
Congratulations to our Spring Civic Engagement Program (CEP) team for surpassing their community outreach goal of contacting 3,000 Latinx voters from rural and unincorporated Tulare County!
The team of 10 CWC canvassers (not all pictured) contacted 3,237 voters about implementing the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program AND ensuring that they get counted in the U.S. Census.
During the calls voters learned about the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund and are now ready to work with their elected officials to make sure it is well implemented.
Our team also encouraged voters to get out the vote in the March 3 primaries and helped them prepare for completing the 2020 Census.
For all of you who responded, you will hear from us soon to help you complete the Census.
Great job, team!! Si se pudo!
CWC in the News
The Guardian: 'Lost communities': thousands of wells in rural California may run dry. Years of pumping, drought and a thirsty agriculture industry have taken a heavy toll on the water supply – and new plans are leaving vulnerable residents behind
SJV Water: Central Valley Groundwater Markets Emerging Under SGMA. Central Valley farmers may soon have another crop to sell along with almonds, tomatoes and peppers — the groundwater beneath their land.
Daily Californian: Addressing arsenic problems in rural California. Arsenic is one of the most toxic elements in the Earth’s crust. It is widely distributed, and under certain geochemical conditions, it dissolves into groundwater, which then gets pumped out for human use.
See the latest CWC news coverage here.
Upcoming Events - Come Join us!
April 2020 - Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Advisory Group Meeting
Remote participation only: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/safer/advisory_group.html
New CWC Team Member
We are excited to introduce our new team member! Brandon Bollinger joined the Watsonville team this month as an Organizing Manager. Check out Brandon’s bio and give him a warm welcome!
CWC is Hiring!
Complete job descriptions and more information on how to apply, please visit: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/careers.
The Community Solutions Coordinator is a full-time exempt position that will be primarily responsible for providing technical support, analysis, and resources to assist communities in making informed decisions on the best drinking water technical solution(s) for their needs.
The Organizing Manager position is a full-time, exempt employee position that will be primarily responsible for leading CWC’s organizing, education, outreach strategies and activities to support the implementation of community-driven water solutions in the Southern San Joaquin Valley.
The Community Organizer position is a regular, full-time, exempt employee position that will be primarily responsible for conducting CWC’s organizing and base-building work in communities in the San Joaquin Valley. This position will report directly to the CWC Director of Organizing and will work closely with other CWC staff, community partners and allies.
The Regional Water Manager will lead CWC’s regional water management planning, policy and program development to achieve sustainable and affordable drinking water solutions in low-income communities and communities of color. The Regional Water Manager will report to the Policy Director and also work closely with the Executive Director other staff, people directly impacted by drinking water issues, members of partner organizations and agencies, other stakeholders impacted by groundwater management including representatives from industry, and various interns. This is a full-time, exempt position.
The Fund Development Associate is primarily responsible for the implementation of organizational and fund development activities from the Watsonville office. This position will require occasional travel and ability to work evenings and weekends to accommodate fundraising activities, such as events, funder tours and funder deadlines. This position reports to the Director of Strategic Partnerships and other CWC personnel, independent contractors, allies and vendors. This is a regular, exempt, full-time, salary position.
The Senior Policy Advocate will be responsible for leading policy advocacy campaigns designed to address root causes of unsafe drinking water by advancing community-driven legislative, regulatory, and policy changes. This is a regular, exempt, full-time, salary position. This position reports to the Policy Director and is based out of CWC’s Sacramento office.
Resources & Announcements
- Do you know if your water is safe to drink? Check out our bilingual Water FAQ page to see what steps you can take to find out what is in the water coming out of your tap.
- NEW!! CWC’s web portal for COVID-19 response and community resources.
- Funding available for water systems impacted by 1,2,3-TCP. On December 14, 2017, the State Water Board approved an early effective date for the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of contaminant 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP). In order to obtain cost recovery for your impacted system, you need to obtain legal representation in order to sue the responsible parties, Shell and Dow Chemicals, for 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Litigation can take anywhere from a year to more than three years, so if you are impacted by 1-2-3 TCP and are in need of financial assistance to come into compliance with the new MCL, there are funding sources at the state available for eligible entities. The primary funding source is the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), and the Prop 1 Groundwater Grant Fund is also a secondary option to cover instances where the DWSRF doesn’t cover. In order to qualify for state funding sources you will likely be required to show you are initiating efforts to recover costs from the responsible parties. For any questions, contact the State Water Resources Control Board.
- Resources for Protecting Groundwater. Here are two resources for protecting drinking water quality in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA):
- Guide to Protecting Drinking Water Quality Under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
- Groundwater Quality in the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA): Scientific Factsheet on Arsenic, Uranium, and Chromium (In partnership with researchers at Stanford University)
NEW!! Recommendations to Ensure Drinking Water Protections for Communities
- Alongside our allies (Environmental Defense Fund, Self Help Enterprises, The Nature Conservancy, and Union of Concerned Scientists) we developed recommendations for groundwater sustainability agencies (GSAs) to consider when designing and implementing groundwater markets in order to protect community drinking water needs.
We hope these resources support your involvement in groundwater planning. If you are new to the SGMA process, there is still time to get involved. Click here for a step-by-step process for how to get involved in your local area.
Funding for Water and Energy Audits: Application and Instructions. More details on the CWSRF.
Thank you to our WJLA Sponsors!
Thank you to our generous supporters!
Huge thank you to our monthly donors, whose continual contributions help to sustain our long-term work toward achieving safe, clean and affordable drinking water!
Amy Helfant, Anavel Valdez, Arden Wells, Benigna Hernandez, Bessma Mourad, Bill Walker, Bryan Barnhart, Carly Yoshida, Cassie Morgan, Edward Bergtholdt, Ellen Rowe, Frank Lukacs, Jill Ratner, Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, Julian De Anda, Kathryn Wuelfing, Kavita Vora, Kelsey Hinton, Kristin Dobbin, Leonard Sklar, Nancy Bruce, Natalie Garcia-Grazier, Nimmi Damodaran, Paul Pierce, Sandra Hocker, Tom Biglione, Vicente Guerrero, Vicki Woods
And thank you to our generous donors for the month of March!
Donald Zimmerman, Kelly Elzea, Sandi Matsumoto, Swanee Edwards
If you would like to donate to CWC, please click here!