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This fall is an important time to get involved in protecting groundwater that many people rely on for their drinking water source. Many Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are releasing draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans which are plans to ensure underground aquifers managed sustainability for multiple uses. We will be hosting community workshops to review the plans and to get your feedback on how you think groundwater should be managed, with a focus on how to protect community drinking water supplies. Now is the time to get involved!
Earlier this week, community leaders traveled to Sacramento to a State Water Board meeting to advocate for a better plan for managing salt and nitrate pollution in the Central Valley. About 250,000 people in the Central Valley region are at risk of excessive exposure to nitrates. Under the proposed plan, dischargers had 45 years to reduce current rates of pollution. Due to extensive advocacy efforts and powerful testimony from impacted residents, the Board voted to reduce the timeline for dischargers to stop polluting down to 35 years. This was a meaningful victory for impacted communities. However, the work is far from over and the next phase of CV-SALTS will begin soon. We look forward to both partnering with and also holding the State Water Board and Central Valley Regional Water Board accountable to implement CV-SALTS in a manner that is protective of community health and the quality of our groundwater. See more below!
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Susana De Anda
CWC Co-Founder and Executive Director
October 25, 5-6 PM. Central Coast Comité Platica. Comité members will be sharing their experience working to secure bottled water delivery and next steps toward obtaining a long-term drinking water solution. All residents of the Bluff Rd., Jensen Rd, and Springfield Rd. area in north Monterey County are invited to this meeting to learn more about the efforts of the Comité. Please contact Cesar Garcia Lopez at (831) 288-0450 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
CWC in the news
The Tennessee Tribune: Why Water Now Flows in East Porterville — Community Outreach the Key. Prop. 1 funding has helped advance a long list of projects up and down the state to provide Californians safe drinking water. Funding for projects is key, but it is equally important to engage community residents to ensure effective and timely implementation.
Hanford Sentinel: Op-Ed: Water Victory Shows Power of People. In the last few years, impacted residents, along with so many others who together created a movement for water justice, drove thousands of miles, attended countless meetings with elected officials and their staffs, testified before dozens of committees, told their stories to media outlets and reporters from across the state and the nation, and encouraged our friends and families to keep fighting a battle that at times seemed hopeless. Through it all, they remained thirsty for justice. Hear them tell their story.
CalWellness Blog: How Clean Water Transforms Communities. Those who don’t have clean water coming from the taps in their home are not able to consume or use the water in any way. Children cannot even take showers using the water coming from their taps. This has meant purchasing bottled water to consume, cook with, and bathe with – all while continuing to pay bills for water they’re not able to drink. Their lives will now change for the better with the passing of The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.
See the latest CWC news coverage here.
THE STATE WATER BOARD TAKES ACTION TO REDUCE TIMELINE FOR STOPPING POLLUTION
On October 16th, residents from the Central Valley attended a State Water Board hearing in Sacramento to share their comments before a critical vote to approve with direction the Basin Plan Amendments for the Central Valley on the regulation of salts and nitrates (often referred to as CV-SALTS).
The Basin Plan Amendments (BPAs) are the product of an over a decade long process, led by industries who discharge salts and nitrates, to create a framework on how those discharges are regulated. The three goals of the BPAs are: 1) provide safe drinking water to those impacted by nitrates, 2) stop continued pollution, and 3) restore degraded groundwater basins. However, the BPAs do not actually create a pathway for equitably achieving these goals, if dischargers must achieve them at all.
Thanks to the work of the CalEPA, the State Water Board, and community voices, the State Water Board has directed the Regional Water Board to make significant changes to the BPAs to ensure that the three goals are met. The Regional Board has a year to make the necessary changes and resubmit to the State Water Board. Some changes are: pollution must stop within a certain timeline (currently the BPAs contain a loophole on this), ensuring more communities are provided safe and affordable drinking water, and preventing management actions that would result in some areas having higher levels of pollution. However, one issue remained within the resolution that was of grave concern to impacted communities: a proposed timeline of up-to-45 years for dischargers to stop polluting groundwater.
At the State Water Board meeting earlier this week, impacted residents from the Central Valley shared their experiences fighting for safe drinking water for themselves and their families and neighbors for years and expressed opposition to allowing continued pollution for another 45 years. After discussion, the Board voted 3-1 to reduce the timeline to 35 years, and voted 4-0 to approve with direction for revisions the BPAs. This was a significant adjustment in response to community concerns and we want to express our appreciation to the Board for listening to the community.
However, now the work continues! The Central Valley Regional Water Board will soon begin making revisions to the Basin Plan Amendment, based on the direction the State Water Board has laid out. Additionally, dischargers must soon begin implementation of plans for providing emergency and temporary solutions to communities impacted by nitrate contamination. Throughout this process, dischargers are required to consult with impacted residents to develop solutions that work best for them and their communities. We will need to guarantee that no community or individual household is overlooked, and ensure that dischargers are held accountable for implementing solutions that work for communities. Stay tuned for more on this important issue as we move forward!
COMMUNITY LEADERS GATHER IN VISALIA TO DISCUSS A VISION FOR THE ROLE OF ADMINISTRATORS IN LOCAL WATER SYSTEMS
Earlier this month, Community Water Center, Self Help Enterprise and Leadership Council for Justice and Accountability held a community meeting in Visalia with community leaders, organizational partners and other interested stakeholders to discuss the SWRCB’s Administrator Policy and create a space for community leaders to develop a community vision for Administrators.
Under the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, or SB 200, the State Water Board can authorize a contractor, known as an Administrator, to help run a local water system such as a small water system that is currently unable to provide safe water. The goal of appointing an Administrator is to provide temporary support while the system is strengthened. Administrators can be counties, engineering firms, technical assistance providers or other entities and will be able to operate a water system, bill customers, with oversight from the State Water Board.
Community members shared a number of valuable questions and suggestions about the role of Administrators in assisting local water systems including the need to ensure Administrators are accountable to the needs of the community and operate in a manner that is accessible and transparent. We look forward to taking these questions and suggestions back to the State Water Board and to continued conversations about this important tool in the coming months.
GETTING INVOLVED IN PROTECTING GROUNDWATER
This fall is an exciting and important time to get involved in protecting groundwater for drinking water. In the Central Valley, we depend on groundwater for drinking, bathing, growing food, and more. Across the state, Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) have developed Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) called for by the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) that outline how they will manage groundwater locally. GSAs will need to submit their plans to the state by January 2020 but before they can do that, the plans will have to go through a public comment period to get feedback from stakeholders like you.
Through the end of the year, CWC will be hosting community workshops to review the draft Groundwater Sustainability Plans and to get YOUR feedback on how you think groundwater should be managed. We will be posting information about workshops on social media as well as in our calendar: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/events.
To learn more about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) in the meantime, visit: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/sgma_engagement.
CENTRAL COAST EXPANDS OUTREACH TO SAN BENITO COUNTY
This month, Mayra and Cesar, CWC Community Organizers in the Central Coast started door-knocking to better understand the water quality conditions of residents living in San Juan Bautista. San Juan Bautista is in San Benito County, largely agricultural and is known to have water quality issues. In order to get people good information about their private wells, Mayra and Cesar are promoting the Central Coast Regional Water Board’s free well testing program. The program kicked off in early August and is available to anyone with a well living in San Benito County. So far, Mayra and Cesar have knocked on over 40 doors and have connected several people to the well testing program!
If you are interested in learning more about the program and ongoing efforts in San Benito County, contact Cesar Garcia Lopez at (831) 288-0450 or email@example.com
Do you want to join our team? CWC is Hiring!
Complete job descriptions and more information on how to apply, please visit: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/careers.
Community Organizer - Visalia: 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. If you have any questions, please contact Christina Marquez at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Manager - Sacramento Office: The Communications Manager is primarily responsible for overseeing media relations, organizational communications (eblasts, web presence, social media), and supporting CWC’s fundraising efforts. The Communications Manager is a full-time position based out of our Sacramento office and will report to the Policy Director. This position will work closely with CWC’s Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Executive Director, as well as other CWC staff, community members, ally organizations and agencies, and various interns. If you have any questions, please contact to Christina Marquez, Administrative Assistant at email@example.com
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