Community Water Center

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

May 2018 CWLN Newsletter

Don’t miss our next Network Briefing:
Thursday, May 24th from 4-5PM  

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, dial (929) 432-4463, when prompted, enter the access code 5254-59-7515 followed by the pound key (#). Let Adriana know if you need a pre-paid calling card in order to call long-distance.

Agenda:

  • 1. member updates and questions
  • 2. regional & state updates
  • 3. monthly discussion topic: preparing for drought and identifying vulnerabilities

Tulare County Candidate Forum

In May the Tulare County Candidate Forum Coalition hosted two candidate forums. The first took place in Porterville on April 26 and the second in Orosi on May 3. The first forum in Porterville hosted candidates for Board of Supervisors District 5 and CA State Assembly District 26. The second forum hosted candidates for Board of Supervisors District 4 and CA State Senate District #14. These forums were a great opportunity to hear local candidate responses to community members concerns and their ideas for advancing long term sustainable water solutions. Read more about the Porterville forum in The Porterville Recorder and the Valley Voice.


Safe & Affordable Drinking Water Fund

CWC continues to lead a historic policy advocacy campaign for the creation of a new California Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which would provide $140 million annually to address persistent barriers to safe and affordable water for low-income communities in California. The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund was originally introduced as Senate Bill 623 (Monning). The Governor in his January 2018 budget committed to introducing statutory language consistent with SB 623 in a budget trailer bill, and also included nearly $5 million in one-time startup funding to help set up the Fund. That trailer bill language has since been posted on the Department of Finance's website and is pending amendment into a trailer bill vehicle. Inclusion in his budget represented a strong signal of support and has helped place this campaign on a trajectory towards success -- passage of the most significant safe drinking water legislation in a generation. Notably, more than 100 impacted residents, including some CWLN members, have made trips to the Capitol to meet with legislators about their experiences living without safe and affordable drinking water, and more than 1,000 people statewide have taken action to support the Fund. The Fund is also backed by an unusually broad, diverse group of more than 130 stakeholders including agricultural groups, business, environmental justice, environmental, public health, labor, water agencies, local government, and more.

We anticipate final votes to happen in either June or August. We strongly encourage all CWLN members to call or email your legislator and urge their support for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. You can take action here: fundsafewaterca.org. We also encourage CWLN members to pass resolutions of support. Thank you to the many CWLN members that have already done so -- your voice makes a difference!


Rally in support of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

Please join us and invite your friends, family, and community to join us in Sacramento on June 13th! We’ll be holding a rally with press and doing a community advocacy day. We would love to have you join us for this opportunity to make history!


National Drinking Water Week rallies

On the Friday of National Drinking Water Week, more than 60 people, including Dolores Huerta, came out to simultaneous rallies in Merced and Bakersfield to push for the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. The San Joaquin Valley is hard hit by toxic tap water, and residents spoke out for change during National Drinking Water Week. The rallies were covered by many local news stations, including Bakersfield Now, KGET, The Bakersfield Californian, Your Central Valley, and The Merced Sun-Star. Residents spoke about living with unsafe and unaffordable drinking water, and about the need for legislators to support the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.


Visalia District Celebrates Completion of 1,2,3  TCP (1,2,3-Trichloropropane) Treatment Plant

This month, Cal Water held a ceremony to celebrate the completion of a treatment plant for 1,2,3 TCP. 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP), is the cancer causing chemical that has caused contamination of California soil since the 80s due to extensive application of soil fumigants manufactured by Dow and Shell Chemicals. On December 14, 2017, the State Water Board approved an early effective date for the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 5 parts per trillion (ppt) for the contaminant  Water systems were required to start quarterly monitoring for 1,2,3-TCP in the calendar quarter beginning January 2018. All the water that had been served to Visalia customers has been in compliance and this treatment system is being installed to be able to bring on new water sources when there is more demand in the future. Now that West Goshen residents that were previously served by the West Goshen Mutual Water Company are connected to Visalia’s Cal Water system, they can also celebrate that their water meets 1,2,3 TCP compliance.  

If your system is impacted by 123-TCP, in order to obtain cost recovery your system needs to obtain legal representation in order to sue the responsible parties, Shell and Dow Chemicals, for 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Robins Borghei LLP is the primary firm litigating 123 TCP cases and has a strong track record in winning cases on behalf of communities dealing with 1-2-3 TCP contamination. Litigation can take anywhere from a year to 3 or more 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.


California Water Commission Updates

The California Water Commission is a nine member commission appointed by the Governor. The Commission advises the Department of Water Resources (DWR) and helps develop policies to support sustainable water resource management. Through the Prop 1 Water Storage Investment Program (WSIP), the Commission will fund the public benefit costs of new water storage projects. In May, the Commission determined the public benefit ratios of the proposed projects. This May the California Water Commision allocated $2.3 Billion in funding for water storage projects. Out of the total 11 projects proposed, there were three projects submitted for the San Joaquin Valley. The Temperance Flat Reservoir Project was allocated a smaller portion of funding that desired. The Tulare Lake Storage and Floodwater Protection Project was deemed not eligible and the Kern Fan Groundwater Storage Project received funding it requested.

 

In making allocations the Commission can only fund the “public benefits” of these projects such as environmental and public safety benefits. The public benefits ratio is one of the four components that projects get scored on, the other three are: relative environmental value, resiliency and implementation risk. In June 2018, the Commission will determine the project scores and then in July 2018 the Commision will determine the maximum eligible funding. For more information on the California Water Commission and their public benefit ratio determinations, visit: https://cwc.ca.gov/Pages/Home.aspx


Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Intended Use Plan (IUP)

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a funding source administered by the State Water Board to help water systems in need of financing for capital infrastructure projects. Financing can come in the form of principal forgiveness (grants) or loans (which may include low or no-interest terms). The Intended Use Plan (IUP) describes how the Board plans to administer the funds available within the DWSRF that year and includes the Board’s funding priorities, requirements for applicants, and state and federal limitations. The IUP will be adopted at either the June or July Board meeting, but has not yet been agendaized for one of the hearings.


CV-SALTS (Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability)

CV-SALTS (Central Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long-Term Sustainability) is a planning process that has been going on for nearly 12 years. CV-SALTS is comprised of a group of dischargers along with Regional and State Water Board staff members who have been working to create a salt and nutrient management (SNMP) which would help guide the adoption of a basin plan amendment. This basin plan amendment will dictate how the discharge of salts and nitrates will be regulated within the Central Valley. Community Water Center alongside Clean Water Action and Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability have also participated in CV-SALTS for several years. There are three overarching goals of CV-SALTS:

1) Ensure communities impacted by nitrate contamination have access to safe water,

2) Achieve balance of nitrates leaching into the groundwater,

3) Restore groundwater basins.

The basin plan amendment was released in March 2018 and the comment deadline closed on May 7th. The Regional Water Board will be hearing public comments and considering the  adoption of the basin plan amendment on May 31st (and if necessary also June 1st).

As leaders within your communities, it is important that you are aware and participate in both the adoption and implementation of the basin plan amendment. The basin plan amendment has a potential significant impact upon your water district and community. As mentioned earlier, CV-SALTS indicates that all communities impacted by nitrate contamination, now and into the future, must be provided assistance to ensure everyone has access to safe drinking water. In the early years of CV-SALTS implementation, dischargers will be identifying all communities impacted by nitrate contamination within their management zone and communities currently being served unsafe water will be provided replacement water by the dischargers. Though it is still not determined, it is probable that communities that have an active source of nitrate contamination but are currently treating the contamination, will be assisted later down the road. It is essential for your water district to be part of the implementation of the basin plan amendment to ensure that local nitrate dischargers are aware of your problems with nitrates and so that your water district is involved in the decision making process for addressing concerns. If you are interested in learning more, CWC is offering presentations on CV-SALTS. If you would like CWC to present about CV-SALTS to your water district please contact Adriana Renteria. If you have any other questions on CV-SALTS please feel free to reach out to Debi Ores at deborah.ores@communitywatercenter.org.


Drinking Water in Schools Funding Program

This program can be used install water bottle filling stations or drinking water fountains, and for interim water supplies and treatment devices for schools where contamination is an issue. A few of the schools in the San Joaquin Valley that have applied so far are: Firebaugh Unified School District, Central Union School District, Fresno Unified School District, Richgrove Elementary School District, Monson Sultana, Pond Union School District, Allensworth Elementary School District, and Reef Sunset Unified School District. They are still accepting applications so if a school in your community could benefit from this funding source, contact Rural Community Assistance Corporation at agua4all@rcac.org for more information on how to apply. To learn more, visit: http://salsa4.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=1ql79Y4zqc8%2FstF%2BGFcbWeqg7%2FJkp3Qf


Department of Water Resources (DWR) Draft Prioritization of Groundwater Basins Under Sustainable Groundwater Management Act

In May the Department of Water Resources Sustainable Groundwater Management Program released a draft prioritization of groundwater basins. Basins throughout the state are ranked high, medium, low, or very low-priority. Basins ranking high- or medium-priority are subject to SGMA and need to create Groundwater Sustainability Agencies. The new draft prioritization identifies 109 out of 517 basins as high and medium priority. There are 14 basins that are now ranked as high or medium high priority that will have to form GSAs. There are also 38 basins that were previously ranked high or medium that are now ranked low or very low priority and no longer need to form GSAs but can do so if they would like. In the San Joaquin Valley, the Pleasant Valley basin was reranked from a low/very low priority basin to a medium priority basin and are now subject to SGMA. To check out a map of the reprioritized basins, visit: https://gis.water.ca.gov/app/bp2018-dashboard/.


Featured resource of the month: State Water Board Translations for Consumer Confidence Reports (CCR) Templates

Last May, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Northern California sent a letter to the State Water Resources Control Board requesting that the State Water Board make available translated CCR templates so that public water systems could use the templates and ensure that consumers receive these reports in the required languages. Previously, the Board only provided the template in English and it became evident that many public water systems were using the exact template but not translating it themselves. Because of this, many non-English speaking communities only received the CCR in English. ACLU NC has been working with the State Water Board’s Chair to ensure the templates are translated and there are now two additional versions available: one in Spanish and one in Hmong. The Board plans to provide additional translations in 2018 but for now, water boards are encouraged to use these templates to work to ensure all members of their communities can read and understand their CCR report.


Upcoming events

DATE: 5/23. TIME: 8:30AM-3:30PM. EVENT: AB54 & AB1234 en Espanol. LOCATION: Wyndham Visalia
9000 W Airport Dr, Visalia, California 93277. COST: FREE.  Los participantes aprenderán y entenderán: AB54 y AB240 requisitos éticos de la junta para una empresa de agua mutua, Leyes de reuniones abiertos, Conflictos de interés, Que es comportamiento ético, Responsabilidades financieros, Creación de políticas. Este taller cumple con los requisitos legales para el entrenamiento ético de los miembros de la junta según AB54 y AB 240. MORE INFO: https://www.events.rcac.org/assnfe/ev.asp?ID=1312

 

DATE: 5/21. TIME: 6-7pm. EVENT: Kern Groundwater Authority Groundwater Workshop. LOCATION: Arvin Veterans Memorial Hall, 414 4th Ave. 93 203. COST: FREE. TO REGISTER: call or email Abigail Solis AbigailS@SelfHelpEnterprises.org 559-802-1659.

 

DATE: 5/22. TIME: 11:30 AM. EVENT: Urban Water Update: How TCP is impacting Urban Water Purveyors. LOCATION: Bakersfield Museum of Art, 1930 R. St., Bakersfield, CA. COST: $20 for Water Association of Kern County members, $25 non-members. TO REGISTER: https://calmutuals.org/wp-content/uploads/TCP-Panel.pdf

DATE: 5/23. TIME: 8-12PM. EVENT: California Financing Coordinating Committee. LOCATION: UC Cooperative Extension, 2145 Wardrobe Avenue, Merced, California 95341. COST: FREE. TO REGISTER: https://www.events.rcac.org/images/rcac/pdfs/cfcc_flyer_2018.pdf

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