Community Water Center

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

Drought Resilient Communities Act, SB 971 (Hertzberg) to strengthen drought planning for small and rural communities

The 2012-2016 drought served as an alarming indicator of California’s warmer future and a preview of a new normal of more frequent and longer droughts. Almost 12,000 Californians ran out of water. In the worst cases, rural communities throughout California, communities ran out of water completely

In the hard hit Central Valley, communities like East Porterville had hundreds of wells that went dry, leaving several thousands of residents with insufficient clean water to meet their drinking water and sanitation needs. 

Many families were without running water for several months, some for years. Like Señora Magaña whose photo is featured on the right, many families had to carry their water from water stations. This completely changed the way families cooked, bathed, cleaned their homes, and lived their lives. 

If another drought occurs as severe as the last one, more than 4,500 domestic wells in the Central Valley would be impacted. The cost to mitigate this damage would be more than $115 million.

This directly threatens California’s ability to secure access to safe and affordable drinking water for all and presents a serious public health crisis. This undermines California’s efforts to achieve the Human Right to Water for all Californians.

 

Drought Resilient Communities Act, SB 971 (Hertzberg)

In an effort to build a more drought-resilient future, the Legislature approved SB 606 (Hertzberg, 2018) and AB 1668 (Friedman, 2018), which set water efficiency standards and goals for urban communities and water suppliers. While both measures made major improvements to drought planning for urban areas, a parallel framework is needed for small and rural systems. 

On February 11, Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg introduced SB 971, also known as the Drought Resilient Communities Act, to help prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water for areas most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The bill is co-sponsored by Community Water Center (CWC) and California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA). A number of organizations are part of a coalition in support of this legislation, including CWC, CMUA, NRDC, NextGen, Leadership Counsel, Clean Water Action, PolicyLInk and others. 

The new legislation facilities better coordination and drought preparedness for small and rural communities and water suppliers by making various changes to their local drought and water shortage contingency plans. This includes integrating proactive drought planning as part of key existing county planning processes. The legislation would also implement new state measures designed to better plan and support drought resilience for small water systems.

 

Drinking Water Tool

When we have better data and when we have a clearer understanding of where there are communities whose drinking water needs are vulnerable to groundwater depletion, communities are better able to use data to advocate for their needs and decision makers are better able to proactively plan for water management that takes into account vulnerabilities of the region.

That is why Community Water Center has created a NEW interactive drinking water web tool so that communities and decision-makers can better prepare to protect drinking water during these changing conditions. This Tool helps us understand the potential future drought crisis, so that we can act NOW to prepare.

Visit https://drinkingwatertool.communitywatercenter.org/ to learn:

- Where your water comes from based on your address

- Whether a future drought could impact your drinking water supply

- About the groundwater quality and supply in your area

- How to advocate for safe, clean and affordable drinking water

- How to compare information about your water with your local Groundwater Sustainability Plan

 

 

Take Action Today! 

Show your support for SB 971 by submitting a letter of support or adopting a resolution in support in your organization.

Submit a Letter of Support for SB 971

Adopt Resolution in Support of SB 971

  • Download a sample Resolution in Support
  • Share your resolution in support! If your organization passes a resolution in support of SB 971, please make sure to share this information widely.
    • Send a copy of the resolution to your state senators and representatives.
    • Send a copy of your resolution to Patty Avila-Garcia, Policy Advocate at patricia.avila@communitywatercenter.org so that we can add your organization to our list of supporters.

Resources

SB 971 Drought Resilient Communities Act Factsheet

Using the Drinking Water Tool to Prepare for the Next Drought

PRESS RELEASE: Senate Majority Leader Hertzberg proposes law to protect access to clean drinking water

 

If you are interested in becoming involved with this work, contact Patty Avila-Garcia, Policy Advocate at patricia.avila@communitywatercenter.org or 916-706-3346. 


New CWC Drinking Water Tool to Prepare for the Next Drought

Missed our Feb. 12, 2020 Drinking Water Tool Webinar? Download and watch at home (.mp4;160MB)

Here’s a fact: California WILL experience longer, more severe droughts due to climate change. This will cause drinking water supplies for vulnerable communities to run dry or become contaminated -- and as a result will directly threaten California’s ability to secure access to safe and affordable drinking water for all. That’s why the Community Water Center has created a NEW interactive drinking water web tool! So that communities and decision-makers can better prepare to protect drinking water during these changing conditions. 

Are you interested in knowing where your water comes from based on your home address? Or how a future drought could impact your drinking water? 

 

The Drinking Water Tool can help you learn:

- Where your water comes from based on your address

- Whether a future drought could impact your drinking water supply

- About the groundwater quality and supply in your area

- How to advocate for safe, clean and affordable drinking water

- How to compare information about your water with your local Groundwater Sustainability Plan

 

Visit drinkingwatertool.communitywatercenter.org to start using the Tool today.

 

 

 

Based on an analysis developed for this tool, 1.6 million Californians live in areas served by private domestic wells. Many of these residents live in the Central Valley and would be affected by future droughts. The Drinking Water Tool estimates that a future drought could impact 4,500 domestic wells in the Central Valley, potentially costing the state about $115 million. This presents a serious public health crisis and undermines California’s efforts to secure the Human Right to Water for all Californians. 

We urge you to take action and help ensure communities are prepared for the next drought! For more information about drought and drinking water click here.


Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund

 

Community residents travel to share their story with Governor staff at the Capitol. 

Currently over one million Californians, across the state, are living without safe, affordable drinking water. Contaminated drinking water creates a risk for cancer, birth defects, diabetes, and infant mortality. Low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately harmed by unsafe, unaffordable drinking water. Governor Newsom has called lack of access to safe, affordable water a “disgrace.”

 

This year, we continue  to advocate for the passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund package -- which includes Governor Newsom’s proposed trailer bill legislation, Senator Monning’s SB 200, and Assemblymember Garcia’s AB 217. These bills will help ensure all Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water. Safe drinking water requires a small but sustainable fee to invest in new infrastructure, replace old infrastructure, provide emergency water supplies, and support water treatment. This fee is less than a dollar each month, with exemptions for low-income Californians.

 

We traveled with impacted residents from areas most affected with unsafe drinking water for multiple legislative hearings this year so that they could share their stories with the Assembly and the Senate. These residents pledged their support of SB 200, AB 217, and the Governor's proposed trailer bill legislation and will continue to advocate until their families have safe, clean, and affordable water.

 

We urge you to take action and help ensure safe and affordable drinking water for everyone! For more information on the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund and California’s water crisis, click here.


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