Community Water Center

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

September 2017 CWLN Newsletter

Thank you for joining our Water Justice Celebration!

We appreciate and rely on your support to continue making progress towards our vision of securing safe, clean and affordable water for all communities in California. Thank you for joining us and for continuing to build the movement!


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Bartolo and Celerina Chavez share their experiences working to advocate for safe drinking water in Arvin. Sept 22, 2017.

 

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Community Water Leaders, Denise and Kayode Kadara, sharing their support for SB 623. September 21, 2017.


Armona Community Services Dedication of New $9,200,000 Well and Water Treatment Facility


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Community Water Leader, Jim Maciel, accepting a recognition on behalf of Armona Community Services District presented by Senator Andy Vidak and office staff. Sept. 8th, 2017.

On September 8th, Armona Community Services held a dedication ceremony of their new state of the art well and water treatment facility. The celebration was a long time coming for this small unincorporated community in Kings County that had struggled to meet safe drinking standards for several years. In 1998, Armona was pumping well water without treatment and had arsenic levels that were at 100 parts per billion. As the EPA continued to lower their arsenic MCL down to 50 parts per billion, Armona CSD drilled two additional wells to meet this standard. In 2006 when the EPA lowered their arsenic MCL to 10 parts per billion, it was hard for Armona to meet this standard and they began working to secure a loan for their new treatment facility and began construction in March 2016. The new state of the art treatment facility consists of filtration with pressure filters, chemical injection equipment, a backwashing system, a recycled water system, an area to hold solid waste and not to mention a high-tech operations building with several monitoring and testing panels. Aside from meeting the arsenic MCL standards, the water treatment plant tests non-detectable for other issues like trihalomethanes, aluminum, or iron. The dedication ceremony was attended by community residents, Armona CSD board members, local officials, local NGOs, and state representatives -- a true testament to the hard work and collaborative effort of this project. The facility is located at 10116 14th Avenue, Hanford near the old Kings Drive in Theater, and is worth checking out! 


CWC Workshop on Funding for Drinking Water in Schools Program:

Thursday, September 28th, 10AM-Noon

Community Water Center, 900 West Oak Ave., Visalia.

County office of education representatives, school staff, administrators, and parents are encouraged to join us to learn more about the $9.5 million in grant funding available to increase access to safe drinking water in schools. Schools that serve disadvantaged communities will be prioritized during the first nine months of the application process so we want to make sure our valley schools can take advantage of this opportunity. CWC and our partners worked hard to make this funding available, so we encourage you to attend. Please share with any school representative you think would benefit.  RSVP here or contact Adriana.


Don’t miss our next Network Briefing: September 28th, 4-5 PM

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. As a reminder, we changed service providers which means, we have a new conference call phone number and passcode. 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 and state updates and questions
  3. Monthly discussion topic: Prop 1 / funding projects

Water Shortage Contingency Planning CWLN Roundtable Recap: 

On August 16th, Community Water Leaders came together to discuss the Governor’s Executive Order on “Making Conservation a California Way of Life.” As a response to the five-year drought, the Governor signed Executive Order (B-37-16) to move the state from emergency water conservation efforts to adopting a long-term approach to water supply management and conservation. The roundtable discussion focused on the 10th bullet point of the executive order that reads: “For areas not covered by a Water Shortage Contingency Plan, the Department shall work with counties to facilitate improved drought planning for small water suppliers and rural communities.” CWC worked with DWR to develop bill language to establish recommended guidelines for county-level drought contingency planning for small water systems and rural communities based on this bullet point. Through this conversation, CWLs suggested that the conservation bill language mention including drought contingency planning within the scope of GSAs or at least making sure GSAs are explicitly included in the language, considering implementing this contingency plan within county General Plans, and identified a need to include surface water data needs. CWLs mentioned the difficulties of working on an additional plan with limited/no funding available and mentioned the importance of connecting the contingency plan to funding sources. The feedback CWLs shared was used to update the water shortage contingency plan bill language that CWC was working to pass with the DWR, thanks for your feedback!  An update on this effort is shared below.


Water Shortage Contingency Planning update:

CWC has been working with a coalition of water and environmental organizations to advocate for two bills, AB 1668 and SB 606, covering different water conservation measures, including a requirement in AB 1668 for the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to develop recommended guidelines for county-level drought contingency planning for small water systems and rural communities. The recent five-year drought demonstrated how vulnerable many rural communities are to water shortages -- and highlighted how crucial proactive, locally-focused water management planning is to being prepared for the next drought.

CWC worked with DWR to develop the bill language, which was discussed at a CWLN roundtable in August. The legislative authors decided to make AB 1668 and SB 606 two-year bills and continue working on them next year. This gives CWC and other allies more time to educate decision makers and the public about the importance of proactive drought and water vulnerability planning. The efforts also strengthened CWC's relationship with key allies and set the stage for a stronger, renewed fight come January. CWC will continue to advocate for small rural communities and their human right to water through the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and other policy vehicles, and we will need your continued involvement of CWLN as we move forward.


Senate Bill 623 (Monning) update:

As we have shared before, CWC’s top legislative priority is SB 623 (Monning) which would create a new Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to ensure all Californian communities and those on domestic wells can have access to safe drinking water. In partnership with Senator Monning and over 90 other organizations, CWC has worked hard in 2017 to move SB 623 through the Legislative Process. YOU played a critical role by attending lobbying days in Sacramento, passing resolutions of support through your local water board, making phone calls, and taking other forms of action. Thank you for making your voice heard.

While we have made great progress this year in moving SB 623 from the Senate into the Assembly, Senator Monning and stakeholders have decided to wait until January to proceed with SB 623. This will allow for sufficient time to educate the legislative membership, and the public, to fully understand recent amendments made to the legislation and the importance of the policy to address the statewide problem of contaminated water in California. We will continue building power and momentum for the next three months over the legislative recess and will take up the fight again in January when the legislature reconvenes. Please stay tuned -- we will need you to remain engaged and taking action in order to push SB 623 over the finish line. Thank you!


Well Construction Ordinance and Groundwater Ordinance updates: 

For over two years CWC had worked to pass interim groundwater ordinances in both Fresno and Tulare Counties. These ordinances would ensure that rural communities are protected from excessive groundwater pumping until the SGMA Groundwater Sustainability Plans begin to be implemented in 2020. The Tulare County well construction ordinance had not been updated since the 1990s and had not been meeting California standards. Several stakeholders were involved in sharing their feedback and concerns about the changes that needed to be updated and an updated well construction ordinance was passed in Tulare County in July 2017. Some notable updates to the well ordinance are that: it requires new wells to be connected to a public system, extended well casing in flood zones, and permits condition proper well treatment.

CWC was also supporting a separate groundwater ordinance that would prohibit any new wells on agricultural land that had not previously been irrigated. This draft groundwater ordinance only applied to the unincorporated areas of the county and did not restrict replacement of domestic wells. On August 13th 2017, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted against passing the groundwater ordinance.


Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Disadvantaged Community Involvement Grant Involvement Grant Award update:

The Department of Water Resources has issued a grant award letter to Tulare County and once the County submits the necessary information to DWR, the grant contract will be issued.  IRWM groups are still in the process of selecting and approving their DAC representatives to serve on the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and the PAC will meet once representatives have been appointed. The next Tulare Basin Integrated Regional Planning Effort meeting will take place on Monday, October 2nd at 9am at Provost & Pritchard Consulting, North Garden Street, Visalia, CA, United States.


Water Rates Affordability proceeding at the California Public Utilities Commission:

Working alongside the State Water Board's AB 401 process, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently initiated a proceeding to look at water affordability issues within their jurisdiction. This includes looking at how physical and managerial consolidations can assist in making water more affordable, regulating water bottling companies, and standardizing low-income rate assistance programs across all CPUC regulated water providers. The process is still in the early stages, so no decisions have been made so far. To read the initial proceeding which details the potential scope of the process please refer to this document: http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M191/K996/191996783.pdf. To find out more information and to sign-up for updates on the proceeding, refer to this page: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/General.aspx?id=6442454183. Community Water Center has intervened as a party to the proceeding. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Debi Ores. (deborah.ores@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346).


Sustainable Groundwater Planning Grant Funding Available:

DWR has released the final version of 2017 Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSP) and Projects Proposal Solicitation Package (PSP) for the Sustainable Groundwater Planning (SGWP) Grant Program, funded through Proposition 1. The SGWP Grant Program provides a total of $86.3 million funds for projects that develop and implement sustainable groundwater planning and projects. $10 million of this funding is reserved for projects that serve Severely Disadvantaged Communities, the rest of the funding will support the planning, preparation or development of Groundwater Sustainability Plans. Projects must address high and medium priority basins or a non-adjudicated portion of one of these basins. Check out the DWR’s list of frequently asked questions. The deadline to file for grant funding is November 13, 2017.


Featured Resource of the Month:

Department of Water Resources’ Guidance Document for Groundwater Sustainability Plan Stakeholder Communication & Engagement.  

DWR has released a draft guide to support the development of GSP communication & engagement plans. The guide includes an overview of the seven general steps to develop a C&E plan and provides several examples. A breakdown of the stakeholder engagement requirements in also included. There are lists of resources included at the end of the guide and a toolkit with examples featured on the Stakeholder Communications & Engagement Digital Toolkit website. Both the guide and the toolkit are still in draft form and the finalized version of this document is expected to be released at the end of September. In the meantime, this draft provides a lot of useful information as GSAs begin to form their GSPs.

http://www.water.ca.gov/groundwater/sgm/pdfs/GD_C&E_Final_2017-06-29.pdf


Upcoming Workshops and Trainings: 

Find more events on our Community Water Leaders online calendar found at http://www.communitywatercenter.org/water_leaders_network


Do you have any questions about this newsletter or the Community Water Leaders Network? 
Contact Adriana Renteria at 559-733-0219 or adriana.renteria@communitywatercenter.org

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