Community Water Center

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

October 2014 Newsletter

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October 2014

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Happy Halloween and Dia de los Muertos! It’s the start of the traditional rainy season in California’s San Joaquin Valley, but the drought is still going strong. Luckily, resources are now available for drought-impacted residents thanks to community-led advocacy. Read on for stories about the draft California Safe Drinking Water Plan, new CWC funding, drought resources, honoring a powerful community advocate, and more. We just started the search for two new full-time staff members, so please see below for the job descriptions and help us spread the word! We’re looking for strong candidates excited to secure the human right to water for all communities! 

gray dividerWE'RE HIRING!

Do you or does someone you know want to work full time to help all communities secure the human right to water? CWC is excited to begin the search for two new full-time staff members! We’re hiring a Community Organizer and a Regional Water Management Coordinator in our Visalia Office. Click below for links to the full job descriptions, and please help share these postings with your networks!

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The Draft Plan workshops are a great opportunity to use your voice, engage in the democratic process, and ensure the Plan helps realize the Human Right to Water for all communities 

Earlier this month, the State of California released a draft Safe Drinking Water Plan that lays out the next five years of programming and funding from the Division of Drinking Water at the State Water Board. The Plan describes the barriers to safe drinking water, including contaminated sources, the high cost of treatment, infrastructure deficiencies, and the unanticipated historic drought. Many of the recommendations in the Draft Plan come straight from ongoing CWC advocacy efforts, such as our involvement with the Governor’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group. Because of these efforts, the Draft Plan promotes long-term regional solutions and recommends creating a permanent funding source to mitigate the costs of treating contaminated water.

The State released the Draft Plan after the AGUA Coalition successfully sued the CA Department of Public Health for not developing an updated Safe Drinking Water Plan. Through written comments and participation at public workshops, community members can now provide input to shape how funding for drinking water programs will be prioritized and allocated over the next five years. Workshops will be held in six cities over the next month. Click below for workshop details, and please contact our Visalia office if you’re able to provide comments or attend!  



Low-income Tulare County residents without safe drinking water can now receive bottled water and water storage tanks. 

Thanks to strong advocacy by CWC, ally organizations, and community partners, more state and local resources are now available for small, rural communities that lack safe drinking water! Governor Brown released a new executive order which makes funding available to private well owners for the first time and provides additional funding and state assistance to drought-impacted residents. This state emergency funding provides water storage tanks and hauled water as a temporary solution for residents without water. Tulare County is also providing bottled drinking water to County residents who have contaminated drinking water and whose annual income is at or below 80% of the California median annual household income. CWC is working with the local Drought Task Force to ensure communities get the immediate relief they need. Please help spread the word -- if you or anyone you know is in need of drought assistance, please contact the CWC Visalia office or your County’s Office of Emergency Services. For Tulare County, click here to connect directly for drought assistance.

Read the Tulare Lake Basin Study Report grey dividerCWC RECEIVES SETTLEMENT FUNDING FROM FRACKING CASE

The State of California just took strong action against oil companies involved with fracking, and it resulted in funding for a project through CWC! CWC will receive approximately $200,000 in funding from a settlement of a state enforcement action against two oil companies for illegal water pollution. In April, state authorities at the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board set up a new Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) fund to support community-based environmental projects in the Central Valley. CWC advocated for the creation of the new fund so that court settlement resources could be targeted effectively to water quality projects in communities without safe, affordable water. State authorities chose the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment to administer the program. CWC is honored and grateful to be the first recipients of this SEP funding, and we look forward to seeing this SEP funding support more community-based water programs. CWC will use the funding for private well testing in disadvantaged communities, community outreach and education in partnership with the AGUA coalition, and to support community participation in regional watershed planning.

Read More Button gray dividerHONORING TERESA DE ANDA


With heavy hearts, we share news that Teresa De Anda, a founding AGUA member from Earlimart, passed away last weekend. Teresa De Anda was a longtime organizer, advocate, leader, mentor, mother, and loving friend to many in our movement, and she has been a strong community partner since the beginning of CWC. She was an incredible advocate for low-income rural communities and communities of color threatened by exposure to unsafe drinking water and pesticides. Following a major pesticide drift incident in Earlimart in 1999, when 180 residents were poisoned by the pesticide metam sodium, Teresa turned her anger into awareness and then action. In addition to serving on the Coordinating Council of AGUA, Teresa was a community organizer with Californians for Pesticide Reform and a founding member of  El Comité para el Bienestar de Earlimart. She was instrumental in passing the Pesticide Drift Exposure Prevention and Response Act in 2004.

Teresa was an inspiring leader in the movement for environmental justice in the San Joaquin Valley and throughout the state. We are honored to continue to lift up Teresa’s spirit, memory, and contributions to the movement. Please click below for a photo tribute to Teresa, an NPR story honoring her, and details about how you can support Teresa’s seven children and extended family through this time.

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Susana received the Mark Dubois Award at the City Club of San Francisco. She shared stories about the fight for the Human Right to Water for all communities. 

Congratulations to CWC Co-Director Susana De Anda for being honored with Friends of the River’s Mark Dubois Award for her leadership in building the grassroots movement for water justice! In the eight years since co-founding CWC with Co-Director Laurel Firestone, Susana has used her expertise in organizing, leadership development, capacity building, and community-led advocacy to grow a robust movement for water justice in the Central Valley. Susana is honored to receive the award for CWC’s work to pass the Human Right to Water Bill and support communities developing lasting water solutions. CWC looks forward to partnering with Friends of the River to bring Youth for AGUA members river rafting again in 2015.

Read the Tulare Lake Basin Study Report
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Top photo by Bear Guerra

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