A bill approved by the state Senate on Thursday would clamp down by prohibiting the drilling of most new wells in places where aquifers are in “critical overdraft,” and by requiring cities and counties in other areas to start requiring permits to put checks on the proliferation of wells.
Angie’s eyes filled with tears almost the moment we were introduced. We were standing in the Emmanuel Church parking lot in East Porterville, an unincorporated, impoverished neighborhood in Tulare County, California. If you want to see what happens to a community when its residents don’t have access to the most basic human necessity—clean water—make a trip to East Porterville.
After over two years since the first wells started running dry, East Porterville is now moving swiftly toward a lasting, community-wide drinking water solution. CWC is working closely with all stakeholders to ensure that community members are driving the process.
While not officially passed until June 15th, final decisions on the 2016-17 California Budget are being made by Governor Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, in the next 48 hours, according to sources. CWC, along with our coalition of drinking water advocate groups, have been pushing on multiple fronts to secure a budget package to advance the human right to water.
Last week, CWC and other advocates spoke at a State Capitol briefing hosted by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia about challenges California schools face in providing safe drinking water to students and how we can work towards solutions. Assemblymember Garcia introduced the event and talked about his priority bill, AB 2124, which seeks to address school drinking water challenges.
The CWC team has grown! We’re proud to introduce our two newest team members. Jonathan Nelson joins us as Policy Director and Pedro Ramirez joins us as Director of Organizing!
Last week, the Assembly Budget Committee included in its 2016-17 funding plan $10 million for a grant program to provide filtered water filling stations at more than 100 of the most severely impacted schools – most of which, according to the analysis, are in the state’s Central Valley.
Matheny Tract residents can finally open their taps to clean water. Water in the low-income community south of Tulare has long been contaminated with arsenic, forcing residents to buy bottled water. In March, the State Water Resources Control Board ordered Tulare to merge its water system with Matheny Tract under a new law. At a ceremony Tuesday morning, Reinelda Palma and Tim Denney of the community action group Matheny Tract Committee turned the valve to let the municipal water begin flowing.
Great news! Last week the Assembly Budget Sub-Committee voted to include $41 million in the 2016-2017 California budget to advance the human right to water. But we’re not finished yet! Both houses of the Legislature must come together to agree on the budget’s contents by the June 15 deadline and we have more work to do to make sure these vital investments are included!
Once a month, the residents of Matheny Tract, one of hundreds of poor and largely Latino enclaves tucked deep in California’s Central Valley, gather in the shade of a neighbor’s carport, chihuahuas dozing at their feet. The subject of their meetings is always the same: water. As long as they’ve lived here, the water that comes out of their taps has been contaminated with arsenic and other chemicals; they refuse to drink it, and the very act of taking a shower can make them feel unclean.