Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy
Pages tagged "covid19"

Coalition Urges Congress to Fund Critical Water Needs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2020

Contact:

Jerry Jimenez, Community Water Center
(408) 219-9636, jerry.jimenez@communitywatercenter.org

With Coronavirus Cases Rising, New Voices Join Unprecedented Coalition Urging Congress to Support HEROES Act and Fund Critical Water Needs

Agriculture and business leaders join large coalition of water stakeholders who are protecting access to safe water amid the pandemic

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Following on the heels of Governor Newsom’s statewide order on wearing masks in public and the House’s introduction of a new bill that includes proposed water funding (HR 2), major agriculture and business leaders have now joined a growing coalition of clean water advocates urging Congress to support the HEROES Act and fund critical water needs to keep families safe and healthy.

“In this time of crisis, we have come together to urge the California Congressional Delegation to include funding for urgent water infrastructure and water affordability needs as part of the next federal stimulus package or other pending Congressional actions,” said the coalition in a joint letter delivered to California Congressional leaders.

The coalition of 70 organizations collectively represents California frontline communities, more than 500 California water agencies, and organizations from environmental, agricultural, and business sectors. Water, environmental, and civil rights leaders, such as Dolores Huerta, who signed onto an original coalition letter are now joined by new major agricultural and business voices, including California Chamber of Commerce, Agricultural Council of California, Western Growers, Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and Bay Area Council.

Together, they are calling on Congress to support the water-related provisions of the HEROES Act and to take the following steps in the next federal stimulus package or in other pending actions:

1. $100 billion in new funding over five years for Clean Water and Drinking Water State
Revolving Funds, with at least 20 percent of the new funding distributed to disadvantaged
communities as additional subsidization (grants) rather than loans and eligibility for the
new funding for all water systems, regardless of their organizational structure.

2. At a minimum, include the $1.5 billion in water affordability funding as proposed in the
HEROES Act, and ideally include $4 billion in immediate funding to the Environmental
Protection Agency for grants to the states for a Low-Income Households Drinking Water
and Wastewater Assistance/Affordability Program to help struggling households pay for
essential water and wastewater service.

3. Emergency funding for affected water utilities, particularly serving disadvantaged or
hard-hit communities, to help offset lost revenue, the costs associated with moratoriums
on shutoffs, and the essential public health protections being put in place by water
utilities.

4. Shutoff moratorium/safe reconnection provision that ensures every American has access
to water in their homes now and through the duration of the COVID-19 crisis and that
allows for relief to vulnerable customers for a time afterwards to regain their financial
footing while also providing needed fiscal support to water systems.

“While not a comprehensive list of the actions our various organizations believe should be taken, these do represent meaningful, and we believe necessary, steps to meet both immediate and long-term drinking water needs of Californians while also boosting the economy and helping preserve access to the most fundamental tool in our arsenal to address the spread of COVID-19 -- washing your hands,” said the coalition in its letter.


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CA Executive Order on Water Shutoffs FAQ

CWC, along with our close partners Leadership Counsel and Clean Water Action, called on the Governor to act to 1) implement a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs, 2) reconnect any households who had already lost access to water due to nonpayment, and 3) provide emergency funding for bottled water programs and programs that help support our smallest water systems. We helped build a coalition of over 75 organizations in support of protecting communities’ access to safe water. We also lifted up community voices in the media. 

This led to a historic outcome! The Governor’s Executive Order for a moratorium on water shutoffs was announced on April 2.

What is included in the executive order?

The Executive Order includes an immediate statewide shutoff moratorium with no end date at this time. It also requires reconnections for anyone who has lost water due to non-payment beginning March 4, 2020.

What does this mean for me?

It means your water cannot be shut off if you’re unable to afford your water bill. If your water was disconnected on March 4 2020 or anytime after, your water provider must reconnect your water. If you do not have access to safe water, and live in the Central Coast, you can apply to an emergency bottled water program (https://www.communitywatercenter.org/centralcoastbottledwater)

Who is covered by the executive order?

The Executive Order applies to everyone in the State of California.

What should I do next?

If your water has been shut off since March 4, contact your water provider and also fill out this SWB form. You can use CWC’s Drinking Water Tool to look up your water provider.

Check out our resource page: https://www.communitywatercenter.org/covid19

If your water was shut off prior to March 4, please let us know!

What will CWC continue to push for?

  • Immediate Needs
    • CWC will continue to push for reconnections for Californians whose water was shut off prior to March 4.
    • CWC will continue to push for enhanced emergency support for our smallest water systems, such as helping small water systems cover any major lost revenue gaps that threaten continuity of water service.
    • CWC will continue to push for bill forgiveness so low-income households aren’t hit with massive water bills in a few months that they can’t pay (and so then once again being at risk of water shutoffs).
  • Longer Term Needs
    • CWC will continue to advocate for the need for a statewide water affordability low-income rate assistance program, to make sure all Californains can have the assistance they need to pay for their water bills. We have similar affordability programs for many other utilities like energy and even cellphones -- we need one for water too!

In the long term we will continue to fight for access to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water for all Californians. One priority for CWC in the future is to create a statewide low-income rate assistance program for water. But we will need your help because it will be a big fight!

Please follow CWC for the latest info! Twitter:‌‌ ‌@CWaterC‌ ‌‌| Facebook:‌‌ ‌@communitywatercenter‌


Community Water Center COVID-19 Response

CWC COVID-19 Response

During this uncertain and difficult time, we are working alongside community partners and allies to ensure that vulnerable communities in the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast have access to the resources they need and to safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.

In the immediate term we are reaching out to community members, assessing the impact to vulnerable communities, and connecting people to available resources. For longer-term solutions we successfully advocated for a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs along with clean water advocates and are working toward a water affordability program for all Californians.

It is important to stay safe and informed during this difficult time about the resources available to you during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Is your access to water being affected? Tell us.

If you're having trouble accessing safe, clean, and affordable drinking water, we want to hear from you. Let us know your situation so we can ensure that your concerns are heard by state and local decision-makers.

Email us: info@communitywatercenter.org or call:(559) 733-0219

COVID-19 Resources & Know Your Rights

  • Emergency Bottled Water: If your household does not have enough safe water to meet your drinking, cooking, and sanitation needs during the COVID-19 emergency, contact Community Water Center at (559) 733-0219 or Blanca Escobedo from Leadership Counsel at (559) 719-0796 or Tami McVay from Self-Help Enterprises (559) 802-1685.

  • COVID-19 CWC Community Resources Fact Sheet: View a list of local and state resources compiled by CWC that are available based on your location, as well as your rights regarding evictions and water shutoffs (Last updated 5/04/2020). 

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants:California is providing one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance. Starting on May 18, 2020, twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations will help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. Email: ImmigrantDisasterRelief@dss.ca.gov

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Information and Resources for Immigrant Communities in the Central Valley, Compiled by California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) and the Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network: (updated March 23, 2020)

  • Resources For Families Impacted By COVID-19, Compiled by Valley Children's Healthcare: https://www.valleychildrens.org/media-center/covid19-community-resources

Governor orders statewide moratorium on water shutoffs

Executive Order N-42-20 Frequently Asked Questions

We joined a coalition of clean water advocates in submitting a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that he implement an immediate statewide moratorium on water shutoffs and to take other immediate emergency steps to maintain and restore access to water in vulnerable communities. The Governor responded to this crisis by ordering a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs on April 2, 2020. You can read our joint statement on the moratorium here.

Our work continues.

We are hearing from small systems that they need urgent support to cover revenue shortfalls in order to be able to maintain continuity of water service. We are also hearing concerns from families that they will be unable to pay if they are hit with large water bills that cover multiple months during the moratorium, and so once again may find themselves at risk of their water being shut off. We are also hearing from residents with unsafe tap water that bottled water is very difficult to find in stores right now. As one example, residents of communities in Tulare County currently lack access to safe water due to a change in the administrator of their state-funded bottled water delivery program, and residents have told us that it has been nearly impossible to find replacement water in local stores. This is proving true for many small communities that depend on corner stores for day to day needs.

Our state must address the long-term challenge of water affordability by creating a statewide low-income rate assistance program for water, just like we have for energy and cell phones.

Coalition to Congress: Fund Critical Water Needs ASAP

In a letter to congressional leaders, Community Water Center joined a diverse coalition of water advocates calling on Congress to fund critical water needs that are impacting Californians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coalition of nearly 60 organizations, which collectively represents more than 450 California water agencies - and multiple other water and environmental stakeholders - urged Congress to take action on four solutions to meet the immediate and long-term drinking water needs for Californians. Read the press release here.

Media

California must keep small water systems from failing

Visalia Times Delta, May 7, 2020

Americans are told to wash hands to fight coronavirus. But some don’t trust the tap.

Washington Post, May 5, 2020

COVID-19 Worsens Water Crisis for Families in Rural California

Public News Service, April 23, 2020

Coronavirus forces California farmworkers to scramble for safe drinking water

Food and Environment Reporting Network, April 22, 2020

Stopping coronavirus requires hand washing.But what happens when your water gets cut off?

Earthjustice/NBC, April 16, 2020

Water advocates advise against bottled water hoarding

The Sun-Gazette, April 15, 2020

For Californians Without Water Access, Coronavirus Adds Another Layer of Struggle

California Health Report, April 14, 2020

Californians won’t have water service turned off for unpaid bills during coronavirus crisis, Newsom says

LA Times, April 2, 2020

Gavin Newsom issues a moratorium on water utility shutoffs during the coronavirus emergency

Sacramento Bee, April 2, 2020

Alarmed over bottled water scarcity, some calling for statewide ban on water shut-offs

Central Coast Public Radio, April 2, 2020

Community Advocates Say Water Shutoff Order Is Good, But Not Enough

Valley Public Radio, April 2, 2020

Advocacy Groups Call for Moratorium on Water Shutoffs Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Epoch Times, April 1, 2020

The U.S. Should Stop Water Shutoffs During the COVID-19 Pandemic - and Forever

Gizmodo, March 20, 2020

The Public Advised to NOT Flush Disinfecting Wipes, Paper Towels down Toilet – Throw Them Away instead

State Water Resources Control Board, March 17, 2020

Contact‌ ‌Us:‌‌ ‌We‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌your‌ ‌concerns‌ ‌are‌ ‌heard‌ ‌by‌ ‌state‌ ‌and‌ ‌local‌ ‌decision-makers.‌ 
Email:‌ ‌‌info@communitywatercenter.org‌‌Main‌ ‌Phone:‌‌ ‌(559)‌ ‌733-0219‌ ‌
Web:‌ ‌‌communitywatercenter.org‌ ‌‌Twitter:‌‌ ‌@CWaterC‌ ‌‌| Facebook:‌‌ ‌@communitywatercenter‌ 

Community Water Center COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 CWC Community Resources Fact Sheet

Last updated 5/14/2020

Download a PDF Version Here

En Español 

Community Water Center (CWC) is working to protect access to water during the COVID-19 outbreak. We believe all communities should have access to safe, clean, and affordable water. This fact sheet provides information on key resources and helps answer common questions. 

CONTACT CWC: We want to hear how your access to clean water is being impacted and ensure your concerns are heard by state and local decision-makers.

Email us: info@communitywatercenter.org Call us: (559) 733-0219 Web: communitywatercenter.org Twitter: @CWaterC Facebook: @communitywatercenter

 

Statewide Information and Know Your Rights

Water and Utility Shutoffs

Governor Newsom issued a statewide moratorium on water shutoffs on April 2, 2020 that immediately bans all water shutoffs and requires reconnections if your water was shut off on or after March 4. You can report issues with water shutoffs or reconnections here: https://watershut-off.covid19.ca.gov/. The CA Public Utilities Commission has resources on electricity and private water systems shut offs at: www.cpuc.ca.gov/covid19protections/

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants

California is providing one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance. Starting on May 18, 2020, twelve immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations will help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. Email: ImmigrantDisasterRelief@dss.ca.gov

Evictions

CWC urges local municipalities to immediately put into place strong eviction moratoriums, to build on the Governor’s Executive Order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners. More info on tenant protections & county eviction moratoriums: caanet.org/coronavirus-resources-for-navigating-the-outbreak/

Healthcare Coverage

Covered California enrollment has opened in light of COVID-19. Register if you are currently uninsured. 

Participating in Public Meetings

You have a right to participate in local public meetings -- and we need your public participation now more than ever! Here are some helpful resources.

  • California guidance & best practices on conducting public meetings: 

Web: covid-19hub.govops.ca.gov/Home/Index/73

More info: www.lcwlegal.com/news/governor-newsom-amends-brown-act-ch anges -in-subsequent-executive-order

California Coronavirus COVID 19 Response

Statewide up-to-date information on the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and available resources.

South San Joaquin Valley Resources

Emergency Bottled Water: If your household does not have enough safe water to meet your drinking, cooking, and sanitation needs during the COVID-19 emergency, contact Community Water Center at (559) 733-0219 or Blanca Escobedo from Leadership Counsel at (559) 719-0796 or Tami McVay from Self-Help Enterprises (559) 802-1685.

Tulare County Bottled Water Program

  • For eligibility and application: Email: bottledwater@co.tulare.ca.us Phone: (559) 624-7071.
  • Customers of the following water systems are also eligible to apply: Tooleville MWC; East Orosi CSD; Richgrove CSD/Rodriguez Labor Camp; Ali MWC; Beverly Grand MWC

Emergency Water Tank Program for domestic well failure

  • Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Mariposa, and Stanislaus counties: Call Self Help Enterprises (SHE) Phone: (559) 651-1000. Application required to finance a new or rehabilitated domestic well.
  • Merced County: SHE is delivering water to those already enrolled, but the County is not permitting new tanks at this time.
  • Madera County: Call Community Action Partnership of Madera County. Phone: (559) 673-9173

Water Kiosks

Bring your own container, stay 6 ft. away from others, and sanitize operation controls before/after use.

  • Tulare County: Farmersville: Free drinking water fill station available to the public. Address: Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District, 2975 N. Farmersville Blvd. Farmersville, CA 93223
  • Kings County: Hanford: Free drinking water fill station available to the public. Address: KART Transit Center, 504 W 7th St., Hanford, CA 93230

Tulare County Foodlink

Feeds the needs of hungry people by distributing donations they receive to food pantries and other agencies.

South San Joaquin Valley County Health Departments

Up-to-date information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and available resources.

Central Coast Resources

Regional Bottled Water Program For Central Coast Households

Free bottled water delivery for income-qualifying households who rely on contaminated drinking water wells.

  • Phone: (831) 288- 0450 (office) or (831) 500- 2125, Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Salinas Valley Bottled Water Program

All households that depend on wells contaminated with nitrate in the Salinas Valley Groundwater Basin are eligible for free delivered bottled water.

Central Coast County Health Departments

Up-to-date information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) and available resources.

Central Coast Education Nutrition Services

Up-to-date information on district plans for nutrition services during closure.

Monterey County Food Bank

Food assistance programs for those in need.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County

Food assistance programs for those in need.

  • Address: 800 Ohlone Parkway, Watsonville, CA 95076 Phone: (831) 662-0991(Español & Ingles) Web: www.thefoodbank.org

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