Community Water Center

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Las necesidades para un agua potable, sana y económica son reconocidas en el presupuesto del Estado

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PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA 

CONTACTO: Jenny Rempel, (916) 706-3346, Jenny.Rempel@CommunityWaterCenter.org

 

Las necesidades para un agua potable, sana y económica son reconocidas en el presupuesto del Estado

Grupos de defensores dicen que la Administración y la Legislatura deben crear una fuente de financiamiento sostenible para garantizar un agua potable, limpia, sana y económica

 

Sacramento, California | 10 de enero de 2017 --- Grupos de defensores del agua y organizaciones de la justica ambiental, de salud, rurales, y de equidad se sintieron alentados por el lenguaje del presupuesto del Gobernador que hacía referencia a la necesidad de un agua potable, sana y económica. Sin embargo, los defensores pidieron al Gobernador que priorizara el desarrollo de una fuente de financiamiento sostenible este año para garantizar que todos en California tengan un agua potable, sana y económica.

Cada año, más de 1 millón de Californianos consumen agua que no cumple con los estándares de agua potable. La Mesa Estatal del Control de Recursos de Agua mantiene una lista de 296 sistemas pequeños de agua pública y escuelas que tienen años o incluso décadas luchando para abastecer un agua potable, sana y económica a sus comunidades. 

El presupuesto del Gobernador indica, “Aunque se ha avanzado mucho, algunas comunidades de bajos recursos (DAC, por sus siglas en inglés) dependen de aguas subterráneas contaminadas, y sufren por la falta de recursos para operar y mantener sus sistemas de agua para abastecer un agua potable, sana y económica. La Administración se compromete a trabajar con la Legislatura y las partes interesadas para resolver este problema.”

 Los defensores de la justicia del agua han estado trabajando durante años para asegurar una fuente sostenible de financiamiento para asegurar un agua económica y cumplir tanto con costos financieros y necesarios para la operación y mantenimiento (O&M, por sus siglas en ingles) en las comunidades de bajos recursos afectadas por nitratos, arsénico, pesticidas y otros contaminantes.

“No es justo que tengamos que vivir con agua contaminada que ha estado saliendo de nuestras llaves durante más de una década”, dijo Sandra Meraz, un residente de Alpaugh, una pequeña comunidad en el Condado de Tulare. “El estado ha ayudado, y finalmente estamos avanzando con una planta de tratamiento, pero nuestra comunidad necesita apoyo para cubrir los costos de O&M. Necesitamos que el Gobernador desarrolle una fuente de financiamiento para garantizar un agua potable, sana y económica para nosotros.” 

Comentarios específicos de los miembros de la Coalición de Defensores del Agua Potable y asociados:

“Al igual que en Flint, las comunidades de bajos recursos de California se ven obligadas a enfrentar los problemas de agua potable en nuestro estado. Agradecemos el compromiso del Gobernador, y esperamos poder trabajar con el Gobernador y la Legislatura para garantizar que las comunidades tengan acceso al financiación continuo y necesario para obtener un agua potable, sana y económica.”

Susana De Anda, Co-Directora Ejecutiva, Centro Comunitario por el Agua

“El Gobernador ha reconocido desde hace tiempo la importancia del agua potable para todos los Californianos, y agradecemos su apoyo a este reconocimiento a través de sus declaraciones. La Legislatura también ha sido un aliado, y esperamos con interés trabajar con ellos durante los próximos meses para afinar los detalles.”

Jennifer Clary, Gerente de Programas de Agua, Clean Water Action California

 “Además de la calidad del agua, el presupuesto del Gobernador debe tomar en cuenta el acceso a un agua económica. Es inaceptable que algunas familias estén pagando hasta un 10% de sus ingresos solo para agua potable.”

Phoebe Seaton, Co-Directora Ejecutiva, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

 “El costo y la complejidad del tratamiento de las aguas subterráneas de California (cada vez más contaminadas) van en aumento. Agradecemos mucho la financiación propuesta por el Gobernador, y esperamos trabajar con el Gobernador y la Legislatura para abordar estos temas de una manera más integral más allá de los recursos que el Gobernador puede comprometer del presupuesto anual del Estado.”

Stan Keasling, CEO, Rural Community Assistance Corporation

 “Aplaudimos el compromiso del Gobernador para hacer frente a las necesidades de las áreas afectadas por la sequía; sin embargo, creo que se necesitan fondos adicionales para abordar la magnitud de las necesidades de nuestras comunidades más vulnerables. Es esencial que el Estado también ofrezca fondos para operaciones de emergencia para poder gastos inesperados cuando los sistemas tengan cortes de emergencia no relacionados con la sequía.”

Tom Collishaw, CEO, Self-Help Enterprises

 “En nombre de los Californianos de bajos recursos que luchan por tener suficiente comida y que además batallan por no tener agua potable, continuamos solicitando dos tipos de soluciones: las que son inmediatas y las que son sostenibles. Las soluciones sostenibles a largo plazo (incluyendo las fuentes de financiación) deben ser parte de la respuesta presupuestaria del Estado, y al mismo tiempo, hacer frente a una necesidad inmediata de agua que simplemente no puede esperar más.”

George Manalo-LeClair, Director Ejecutivo, California Food Policy Advocates

 “California tiene una historia indeseada de no poder garantizar que las comunidades de bajos recursos tengan agua potable. La propuesta es un paso más para resolver esta situación. Pero aún hay más por hacer.”

Kyle Jones, Defensora de Políticas, Sierra Club California

“Todos los Californianos merecen un acceso confiable a agua potable, sana y económica. Como Presidente-electo Trump intenta desmantelar la EPA y nulificar la Ley de Agua Limpia; es responsabilidad de los líderes electos de California actuar para ampliar el acceso al agua potable, sana y económica para todas nuestras comunidades.”

Sarah Rose, Directora Ejecutiva, California League of Conservation Voters

 “En todo el mundo, el agua potable, sana y económica se considera lo más esencial de las garantías de salud pública. ¿Qué no debería estar disponible para todos en nuestro estado? ¡Por supuesto que sí!”

Dr. Harold Goldstein, DrPH, Director Ejecutivo, Public Health Advocates (antiguamente California Center for Public Health Advocacy)

 

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Tribes, Fishermen, and EJ Groups Encouraged by New Groundwater Laws

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2014

Contacts: 
Sara Aminzadeh, California Coastkeeper Alliance, 415-794-8422 (cell), sara@cacoastkeeper.org
Jenny Rempel, Community Water Center, 916-706-3346 (office), 559-284-6327 (cell), jenny.rempel@communitywatercenter.org

 

California Tribes, Fishermen, and Environmental Justice Groups Encouraged by Governor Signature of Groundwater Reform Package

Groups Focus on Swift Implementation During Worst Recorded Drought in History 

Sacramento, CA – Today, Governor Brown signed a package of groundwater bills (Assembly Bill 1739, Senate Bill 1168, and Senate Bill 1319) that will establish a framework for more sustainable groundwater management in California.  California’s existing laws provide little protection for communities and ecosystems that rely upon groundwater.  The three bills require the development of groundwater sustainability plans in high and medium priority basins, and require that those plans set enforceable goals to achieve sustainable groundwater management.  One of the worst droughts in recorded history created a sense of urgency that paved the way for unprecedented groundwater reforms in California.  Fishing groups, tribes, and environmental justice organizations now urge swift action to implement the long-overdue reforms of California’s groundwater management.

In response, the following individuals and organizations issued the following statements:

Konrad Fisher, Klamath Riverkeeper: “Unregulated groundwater extraction has been depleting our streams and rivers for too long. This legislation alone will not protect ecosystems from excessive groundwater extraction, but it's a historic step in the right direction. Now it’s the responsibility of local groundwater managers to protect ecosystems and surface water right holders from excessive groundwater withdrawals.”

Leaf Hillman, Director of the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources: “We can’t sit idly by while water is literally sucked out from under our rivers and fisheries. We must act now to protect California’s groundwater resources.”

Zeke Grader, Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations: "Managing groundwater is critical to maintaining surface water flows in many basins.  And, of course, surface water flows are critical for the survival of our economically important salmon runs, as well as other fish species."

Laurel Firestone, Community Water Center: “Safe, affordable, and accessible drinking water is a human right. These new laws create real, substantive change in the State’s ability to address the needs of communities that lack safe drinking water to meet their basic needs.” 

Phoebe Seaton, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability: “With this action, we have taken a historic step toward ensuring that individuals, families and communities reliant on groundwater have a role in protecting that resource.” 


Governor Signs Historic Groundwater Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2014

Contact:
Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or Omar.Carrillo@CommunityWaterCenter.org


Governor Signs Historic Groundwater Legislation

Community Water Center celebrates the beginning of a new era of inclusive, sustainable groundwater management

Sacramento – Today, Governor Brown signed into law an historic trio of bills to manage state groundwater supplies.

The Community Water Center (CWC) advocated for Assembly Bill 1739 (Dickinson), Senate Bill 1168 (Pavley), and Senate Bill 1319 (Pavley), because this legislation provides an opportunity for sustainable groundwater regulation that would benefit all users.

“Safe, clean, and affordable drinking water is a human right,” said Laurel Firestone, CWC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director. “These new laws create real, substantive change in the State’s ability to address the needs of communities that lack safe drinking water to meet their basic needs.”

As the last state in the West without groundwater regulation, Californians have been depleting groundwater supplies for decades. Unmeasured and uncontrolled pumping has led to dry wells, drinking water pollution, and land subsidence.

“This legislation came together through a highly collaborative and consultative process, with input from water managers, farmers, counties, cities, environmental groups, community groups, business leaders, homeowners, and many local water leaders from the San Joaquin Valley,” said Susana De Anda, CWC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director.

The legislation requires regionally controlled groundwater management agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans. The laws require transparency and include small and disadvantaged communities in the planning and management process. If the regional agencies fail to demonstrate adequate, measurable progress within 20 years, the state is authorized to intervene.

“This legislation is just the first step,” De Anda said. “The hard work to create just, effective, and transparent management plans starts now.”

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Read more details about the new groundwater laws here.


Three-Year Water Study Highlights Local Challenges and Solutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2014

Contact:
Maria Herrera, Community Advocacy Director, Community Water Center
559-733-0219 (office) or Maria.Herrera@CommunityWaterCenter.org

Denise England, Sr. Administrative Analyst, Water Resources, Tulare County Administrative Office
559-636-5005 (office) or dnakins@co.tulare.ca.us


Three-Year Water Study Highlights Local Challenges and Solutions

Tulare Lake Basin stakeholders aim to implement solutions for communities that lack safe drinking water

Visalia – Tomorrow, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors will review the final report from the Disadvantaged Community Water Study for the Tulare Lake Basin.

In May 2011, the County of Tulare received a two million dollar grant from the California Department of Water Resources to study the water and wastewater needs of disadvantaged communities in the Tulare Lake Basin and to develop a plan to address these communities’ needs.

The three-year study engaged hundreds of residents and interested parties from Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare Counties. The study resulted in a 250-page final report, as well as a comprehensive database of disadvantaged communities in the region.

“We started this study because we knew our communities were being disproportionately impacted by water challenges, but we didn’t have a concrete inventory of needs to validate what we were seeing on the ground,” said Maria Herrera, Community Advocacy Director at the Community Water Center (CWC). “This study allowed us to assess the magnitude of the problem and begin to identify possible solutions to address the common challenges within the region.”

The study identified 354 disadvantaged communities in the four-county Tulare Lake Basin region. These communities are home to 280,000 individuals.

Forty-five percent of the 196 communities with available water quality data had a water quality problem during the two-year analysis period. Over one quarter of the 354 communities rely on a single water supply source, leaving them vulnerable to drought and changes in water quality.

The final report (available here: bit.ly/1lOjQfE) outlines the challenges, promising solutions, and 59 specific recommendations for actions local water providers, counties, state agencies, and others should take to address disadvantaged community drinking water challenges in the region. These results were identified as part of strong community outreach and stakeholder engagement processes.

As part of a region-wide Stakeholder Oversight Advisory Committee (SOAC), community and local agency representatives worked with regulatory and funding agency representatives to determine priority issues, review pilot projects, and evaluate project recommendations.

“We developed a very hands-on, three-tiered stakeholder involvement process, so on average, almost 50 people participated in SOAC meetings,” said Laurel Firestone, CWC Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder. “Throughout the process, we strove to ensure strong stakeholder feedback, and that was true all the way through our last SOAC meeting. It is people and local and state agencies that are going to have to put this study to use, so local stakeholder engagement was a key aspect of the study process.”

At the final SOAC meeting in August, participants committed to continue meeting to address common water issues in the region. “We should carry forward with a grant application for the Tulare Lake Basin to keep this group going and see if we can set a good example for the rest of the state,” said Tulare County Supervisor Allen Ishida.

Pilot projects were developed to address the five priority issues facing disadvantaged communities in the region, including: a lack of funding to offset operation and management costs; a lack of capacity by water and wastewater providers; poor water quality; inadequate funding for improvements; and a lack of informed, empowered, or engaged residents. The four pilot projects developed in response to these challenges included management non-infrastructure solutions, technical solutions, new source development and individual household treatment solutions.

If approved by the Board of Supervisors, the study will be sent to the Department of Water Resources for review, and a final report will be delivered to the Legislature by January 1st.


California Passes Historic Groundwater Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 4, 2014

Contact:
Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or Omar.Carrillo@CommunityWaterCenter.org

 

California Passes Historic Groundwater Legislation

Community Water Center urges Governor Brown to sign legislation for inclusive, sustainable groundwater management  

Sacramento – On Friday, the California Legislature passed an historic trio of bills to protect state groundwater supplies.

The Community Water Center (CWC) advocated for Assembly Bill 1739 (Dickinson), Senate Bill 1168 (Pavley), and Senate Bill 1319 (Pavley), because this legislation provides an opportunity for sustainable groundwater regulation that would benefit all users.

“Safe, clean, and affordable drinking water is a human right,” said Laurel Firestone, CWC Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director. “The passage of this package of bills creates real, substantive change in the State’s ability to address the needs of communities that lack safe drinking water to meet their basic needs.”

As the last state in the West without groundwater regulation, Californians have been depleting groundwater supplies for decades. Unmeasured and uncontrolled pumping has led to dry wells, drinking water pollution, and land subsidence.

The legislation requires regionally controlled groundwater management agencies to develop groundwater sustainability plans. The bills require transparency and include small and disadvantaged communities in the planning and management process. If the regional agencies fail to demonstrate adequate, measurable progress within 20 years, the state is authorized to intervene.

The bills faced opposition from agricultural interests and key legislative members, but amendments and new language from the Administration led to the bills’ passage on the last day of the legislative session.

"Change is hard, but necessary,” said Jesus Quevedo, AGUA member and Cutler resident. “Even though our [Central] Valley representatives did not vote in favor, I am glad outside Valley representatives do understand this need. I am happy and also encouraged to continue to educate our Valley representatives."

The Community Water Center urges Governor Brown to sign this historic legislation.


New Water Bond Advances Human Right to Water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2014

Contact:
Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or Omar.Carrillo@CommunityWaterCenter.org

 

New Water Bond Advances Human Right to Water


The Community Water Center supports a new bond that targets funding to small communities

Sacramento – A new $7.5-billion water bond passed Wednesday night is an opportunity to allocate resources to communities that lack access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water.

Community Water Center (CWC) advocates and partners were brought into last-minute negotiations between key legislative leaders and the Governor’s office to ensure the new bond, Assembly Bill 1471, emphasizes the human right to water and targets resources to impacted communities.

“Access to safe and affordable water is a basic human right,” said Susana De Anda, CWC Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder. “The Community Water Center supports this water bond because it plays a vital role in our efforts to ensure all Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water.”

The new water bond commits a minimum of $691 million for disadvantaged communities and prioritizes funding for small communities and regional collaboration.

“Many of the communities we work with have been without safe drinking water for years,” said Omar Carrillo, CWC Policy Analyst. “This bond allocates resources to the California communities whose drinking water supplies are at risk due to inadequate infrastructure. While not perfect, this new bond offers the best available alternative, because it focuses scarce resources where they are needed the most.”

The $7.545-billion water bond will replace an $11.1 billion bond that had previously been planned for the November ballot. California voters now have an opportunity to pass a water bond with focused resources to advance the human right to water.

“With the drought, countless communities that already had unsafe drinking water have seen conditions worsen, and some have lost their water source completely,” said De Anda. “Small, rural low-income communities and communities of color need financial and technical resources to address chronic drinking water problems that are only being magnified by the drought.”

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Water bond analysis
The new water bond dedicates $520 million to projects that provide clean, safe and reliable drinking water. Of that $520 million, $260 million would fund drinking water infrastructure improvements and $260 million would go to waste water infrastructure. Both funds would give priority to projects that serve disadvantaged communities (DACs), especially small ones. Each fund also prioritizes projects that implement regional solutions and collaboration.

For the first time, this water bond would make state resources available to communities reliant on state small water systems and private wells, which had been excluded from most previous water bond financing. By including these small communities and prioritizing resources through a Small Community Grant Fund, this water bond would ensure that impacted communities have access to the public resources intended to create safe drinking water systems for all.

The bond established technical assistance resources to help communities leverage additional funding. It would also create a multi-disciplinary technical assistance program for small and disadvantaged communities.

The bond allocates $90 million for groundwater sustainability projects serving small DACs, as well as $81 million for regional water security, climate and drought-preparedness projects that benefit DACs.

 

Contact:
Omar Carrillo, Policy Analyst, 916-706-3346 (office), 619-829-3553 (cell), or Omar.Carrillo@CommunityWaterCenter.org


Committee approves Wolk water bond to address state's urgent water needs

 


Bond funds broadly supported projects for safe & reliable water supply, Delta restoration

Sen. Wolk Press Release

https://sd03.senate.ca.gov/news/2014-02-11-committee-approves-wolk-water-bond-address-state-s-urgent-water-needs

(02/11/2014) SACRAMENTO–The Senate’s Natural Resources and Water Committee voted 6-0 today to approve a $6.895 billion water bond by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) to begin immediately meeting urgent water needs throughout California.

Senate Bill 848, also known as “The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality & Water Supply Act,” would replace the $11.14 billion water bond currently slated for the November 2014 state ballot. SB 848 is the first proposal to replace the existing bond to receive a committee vote.

“The existing water bond is too expensive, too controversial, and too weighed down with earmarks to garner voter support. SB 848 is a more sensible bond that focuses on effective, broadly supported solutions to our most critical water needs, while avoiding controversy and earmarks,” Wolk said. “SB 848 also focuses on shovel-ready projects that will start producing results immediately. As the Legislature works to address our current drought and prepare the state for our changing climate we must invest in projects that can make a difference in the next 5 to 10 years.”

SB 848 provides funding for broadly supported projects that will address statewide water needs, including water supply reliability throughout the state, water treatment for communities without safe drinking water, and the crisis in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The bill also includes incentives to help permanently reduce reliance on the state’s most stressed watersheds, and directs funding to development of regional water supplies throughout the state that are resilient to climate change.

Among those speaking in support of the bill was Grant Davis, speaking as general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency and on behalf of the Water Bond Coalition, which includes more than 40 counties, cities, water districts, special districts and nonprofit organizations from Ventura County to the Oregon Boarder.

“So often the debate about California’s water policies and public funding gets focused on controversial projects that may or may not get funded at some point way down the road. These debates about tremendous new infrastructure projects are important, but we cannot let them interfere with what we can all agree is needed today,” Davis said. “What is needed today, and what SB 848 provides, is significant new state investment in local water solutions investments that will help provide sustainable water management now and for many years to come in communities across the state.”

“SB 848 is a responsible bond that addresses urgent public health needs for very basic services like safe drinking water and targeted wastewater infrastructure in disadvantaged schools and communities throughout the state,” said Omar Carrillo with the Community Water Center, who also testified in support of the measure. “I also applaud SB 848’s inclusion of technical assistance to help secure water bond funding needed to provide very basic water services in disadvantaged and other communities, including those with private well owners and small water systems.”

SB 848’s other supporters include the American Planning Association, California Association of Local Conservation Corps, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors, Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, Sierra Club California, Solano County Board of Supervisors, Sonoma County Water Agency, and Yolo County Board of Supervisors.

https://sd03.senate.ca.gov/news/2014-02-11-committee-approves-wolk-water-bond-address-state-s-urgent-water-needs


PWQA Donates $2,500 to Community Water Center

 


Water Technology Online

https://www.watertechonline.com/articles/167690-pwqa-donates-2500-to-community-water-center

(2/6/2014) TUSTIN, Calif. — The Pacific Water Quality Association (PWQA) has announced that it is donating $2,500 to the Community Water Center (CWC) to assist in addressing the unsafe drinking water crises in California’s disadvantaged communities, according to a press release.

The CWC is an advocacy group whose mission is to work towards all communities having access to safe, clean and affordable water by building strategic grassroots programs to address water challenges in disadvantaged communities, noted the release.

Read more about WQA here.

“The PWQA is impressed with the good work of the Community Water Center and we applaud their project in Monson, California, which has helped that small community with a useful tool help manage its nitrate contamination problem. As water treatment professionals, we understand the fundamental importance of clean water to our lives,” noted PWQA President John Foley.

The PWQA has also been active with California legislation that will streamline access to the most state of the art water purification devices for all Californian’s while at the same time maintaining compliance with governmental and industry standards, the release reported.

According to the release, many water treatment technologies are available for use in some of the state’s small, disadvantaged communities; however, use of these devices is limited because of existing state regulations.

https://www.watertechonline.com/articles/167690-pwqa-donates-2500-to-community-water-center


Press Release: Drinking Water Issues of Local Communities are Focus of 2-Year Outreach

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Drinking Water Issues of Local Communities are Focus of 2-Year Outreach

(11/14/2013) VISALIA, CA – A 2-year grassroots effort to engage residents in small, rural communities regarding drinking water and wastewater issues came to an end in early November with the final meeting of the Kings Basin Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project Study highlighting the successful outcomes and with the conclusion to continue the effort. (For on-the-ground success stories related to this Study, please contact Maria Herrera, Community Water Center).

The Study was conducted by the Kings Basin Water Authority, a regional water agency comprised of more than 50 public, private and non-governmental agencies. The Water Authority received funding from the California Department of Water Resources to investigate and develop solutions for disadvantaged communities that could be integrated into regional water planning efforts for the Kings Basin region. To better understand these problems, an inventory of these communities and the problems they are facing was developed. “This study has provided us with a much better picture of what constitutes a disadvantaged community in our region and what specific water management issues they are having in their communities.” stated Dave Orth, Kings Basin Water Authority Board Member.

There are more than 100 economically disadvantaged and severely disadvantaged communities within the Kings Basin region, which includes portions of Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties. A disadvantaged Community (DAC) is defined by California Water Code as a community with an annual median household income of less than $48,314. A severely disadvantaged community (SDAC) is defined by California Public Resources Code as a community with an annual median household income of less than $36,235. These economically depressed communities represent special districts, schools, mobile home parks, cities, unincorporated communities, assemblage of residences with and without community water systems, and in some cases, communities that are served by private wells and individual septic systems.

A large number of the Kings Basin’s DACs and SDACs currently face critical drinking water and wastewater challenges, but on their own do not possess the necessary technical or financial resources to overcome them. Water quality contaminants in rural communities originate from a variety of sources. Some are naturally occurring, such as arsenic or uranium; other contaminants are related to land use including point source and nonpoint source discharges from industrial, commercial, agriculture, and human wastes usually from septic systems.

The potential solutions are as varied as the contamination sources, and are difficult to standardize across multiple communities due to variables such as geographic location, local hydrologic conditions and chemistry, water system size, water source, governance structure and capacity, and individual preference.

Drawing upon years of experience working with San Joaquin Valley communities, a project team consisting of Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group, Self-Help Enterprises, and Community Water Center developed individualized outreach plans to schools, small water systems, and residential areas such as mobile home parks and communities in the study area. Door-to-door outreach and dozens of community meetings were conducted throughout the region. “Many residents in these rural communities, do not use or have access to electronic methods of communications. Personal outreach was the most effective way to engage them in the process,” stated Sue Ruiz, Community Development Specialist with Self-Help Enterprises.

The Study resulted in identifying five potential pilot projects throughout the Kings Basin that provided practical solutions for common problems with DAC drinking and wastewater systems. The projects included economies of scales analysis, community survey, improvements to a wastewater system, water supply improvements, and Kings Basin Water Authority membership application support.

“The study allowed those involved to clarify water-related issues impacting their communities, explore potential regional solutions, and consider various types of collaboration,” stated Maria Herrera, Director of Community Advocacy with Community Water Center. The outcomes and recommendations from the Study will help other integrated regional planning efforts throughout the State to strengthen outreach to, and support of, DACs in their areas with critical water supply and water quality needs.

Community participants ended the last meeting of the Study with a discussion on how to maintain the momentum of finding sustainable solutions to some of the most pressing drinking water issues in the region. The residents that participated concluded that the relationships and networks established during the Study laid a solid foundation for advancing the work funded by the Study. The participants also expressed a strong interest and considered ways to increase DAC participation in the integrated regional planning efforts of the Kings Basin Water Authority.

To view the final report and executive summary of the Kings Basin Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project Study go to http://www.krcd.org/water/ukbirwma/dac_pilot_study.html.

 

For More Information, Please Contact: Cristel Tufenkjian, Kings Basin Water Authority,

(559) 237‐5567, ext. 118

Maria Herrera, Community Water Center, (559) 859‐3326

Sue Ruiz, Self‐Help Enterprises, (559) 802‐1687

 

http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/915287/bf78fb117d/1442554917/1394490409/


Press Release: Schools with arsenic contamination soon to have safe drinking water

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Schools with arsenic contamination soon to have safe drinking water
Community-driven effort partners with many groups to install water filters in schools

(11/06/2013) KERN COUNTY, CA – Five Head Start Centers and four schools in the south Kern County communities of Arvin and Lamont are getting relief from arsenic contamination in public schools. Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), the Arvin Union School District, and Community Water Center worked with local community group,Committee for A Better Arvin (CBA), and a broad set of funding and in-kind donation partners to deliver safe drinking water to local school sites by installing water filters at playground and classroom drinking fountains sites and kitchen cooking areas. This effort is seen as a pilot model for securing immediate access to safe drinking water while long-term solutions are being pursued.

Throughout the Valley more than a hundred communities without safe water are working on long-term solutions to address drinking water contamination. Unfortunately, many of these small community water systems will have to wait years for improvements. In the meantime, residents and now schools are increasingly looking for interim measures they can take to reduce exposure to common contaminants, primarily arsenic and nitrate.

In south Kern County, where many community drinking water supplies contain arsenic over the legal health standard, residents and local leaders concerned about student exposure have taken action. Arsenic is a drinking water contaminant that can have serious health effects, such as reduced mental functioning in children; cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, liver and prostate; and Type 2 diabetes.

“We are working with our families and local communities to educate them about access to safe drinking water,” says Yolanda Gonzales, CAPK’s Director of Child Education and Development Services, which runs the Head Start programs where filters have already been installed.

“Since last year we have been working with the schools and Centers to assess their specific drinking water needs by developing an inventory of contamination sites and analyzing different filters on the market,” said Shen Huang, Technical Analyst of Community Water Center, a non-profit organization that works with communities that lack access to safe drinking water. “Seeing these children get safe drinking water is very rewarding for us and our community partners.”

As a result of this project, about a total of 3700 students and staff will be able to access safe drinking water at drinking water fountains and kitchen cooking areas. This project will be in place for three years and will be tracked using partner Blue Planet Network’s online platform to ensure its sustainability. This project began with the installation of filters at the Head Start Centers in September. The project was recently expanded when the Arvin District School Board recently unanimously approved the project implementation, and the Arvin Union School District will get filters by the end of December. The project supports the goals of the South Kern Building Healthy Communities strategic initiative, which helped bring a diverse group together to address the water quality issues in the region.

“We are striving to create partnership models for other school districts and communities that need temporary solutions for access to safe drinking water for students, staff, and parents, because we recognize that public schools, especially rural or high-poverty districts, usually don’t have the financial resources to provide alternative sources of drinking water,” says Dr. Michelle McLean, Superintendent of the Arvin Union School District.

The filters are certified by the California Department of Public Health to remove arsenic effectively. The filter equipment, replacement filters, installation, and water quality monitoring will be all covered with the support of project partners Kinetico Incorporated, AdEdge Water Technologies, Multipure Corporation, Helping Hands For Water, Johnson and Sons Plumbing, Western Water, and California Rural Water Association at no cost to the schools or Head Starts. Ongoing operations and maintenance support and training will also be provided to facilities staff, to ensure that the filters are performing successfully.

“While these filters are effective temporary solutions, communities and local residents ultimately want and desire safe drinking water at the tap,” said Sal Partida, President of Committee for a Better Arvin.

This project was made possible through funding from The California Endowment, Blue Planet Network and the Yahoo! Employee Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

Contact:
Shen Huang, Community Water Center, (559) 733-0219
Salvador S Partida, Committee for a Better Arvin, (661) 854-7000
Dr. Michelle McLean, Arvin Union School District, (661) 854-6500
Yolanda Gonzales, Community Action Partnership of Kern, (661) 336-5236

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