Sacramento, CA -- Ahead of a key hearing of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee today, environmental justice and community water advocates who have led the fight to deliver safe and affordable drinking water to all Californians will ramp up their opposition to SB 669 (Caballero). In the Committee hearing today, advocates from Clean Water Action and other organizations will highlight how the bill’s fatal flaws amount to breaking the promise of clean and affordable drinking water for all Californians.
“Unless the proponents have $4 billion to back up SB 669, this proposal is an empty promise to communities who have already suffered unbearable costs of contaminated water -- including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, infertility and even death,” said Jennifer Clary, Water Programs Manager with Clean Water Action. “When California must be working to deliver on the promise of safe and affordable drinking water for all, this sham proposal would instead leave another generation of our children vulnerable.”
To keep the promise of clean water for Californians served by public water systems in California, more than $4 billion in General Fund dollars would be needed to fill an interest-generating “trust fund,” according to the Legislative Analyst's Office. Without a General Fund commitment of this level, advocates say SB 669 amounts to an empty promise for communities most in need of safe drinking water investment. As written, the bill would find most drinking water projects ineligible for funding, including hundreds of schools, as well as up to two million Californians who are not served by public water systems.
Advocates say flaws in the bill mean the very communities of color, children and families who most need the state’s help would be left most at risk from contaminated water under SB 669. Californians living with unsafe water will be on hand to testify against SB 669 today. They will urge legislators to instead pass AB 217 (Assemblymember Garcia), SB 200 (Senator Monning) and Governor Newsom’s budget proposal -- all of which include ongoing revenue needed to ensure the Human Right to Water for all California residents.
Already, these Californians are paying dearly for unsafe water with their health, or face high prices for tap water they can’t drink and the bottled water they need to be healthy. They will testify that they would gladly pay a couple of quarters a month for tap water that’s safe enough to drink.
Statewide, approximately 300 public water systems fail to meet water safety standards. More than 400 schools have reported lead in drinking fountains or faucets that exceed the level pediatricians say should trigger remediation action -- and nearly half of all schools have yet to report their lead levels, according to a recent report from CalPIRG.
# # #
2018 was a big year for Community Water Center. Our very own Laurel Firestone is now a Board Member of the State Water Resources Control Board, Monterey County became the first county in the US to declare that water is a “human right”, and Governor Newsom proposed a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in the 2019/2020 budget. However, there is still work to do. This blog series will highlight our main policy campaigns for 2019, including:
At Community Water Center, we are not looking for a quick fix to the drinking water problem. Our goal is to find long-term drinking water solutions that are affordable and sustainable in the communities who need them most. We aim to transform water management for the safety of all Californian citizens through our policy campaigns.
Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund
Contact: Mike Roth, 916.444.7170
Sacramento, CA -- A coalition of advocates for communities living with contaminated drinking water today praised the passage of AB 217 (E. Garcia) from the Assembly Environmental Safety and Toxic Waste Committee. The bill would provide the ongoing funding needed to deliver safe water to California children and families through a small fee on water users.
“Today, Assembly Environmental Safety Committee members listened to the voices of the people paying the price for unsafe drinking water with their health, and moved AB 217 forward to protect school children and communities from toxics in their drinking water,” said Jennifer Clary, Water Programs Manager with Clean Water Action. “California has long promised the right of safe and affordable drinking water for all, but we can’t deliver on it without sustained funding. Now, momentum for investment in a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is growing thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom and the Speaker as well as legislative leaders like Asm. Garcia and Sen. Monning.”
Just last week, a new report released from CALPIRG Education Fund found “pervasive lead contamination” in school drinking water in cities across California, emphasizing the urgency for California’s legislature to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. CalPIRG’s new interactive map of school lead testing results shows children face threats from contaminated water across California, a situation that requires a statewide approach to drinking water safety.
Statewide, California’s safe drinking water crisis affects one million Californians each year and causes a range of health issues from cancer and birth defects to heart disease and diabetes. Approximately 300 public water systems in California are out of compliance with drinking water standards and hundreds of thousands more Californians may not even know that their water is contaminated because they rely on unregulated systems or domestic wells. California’s drinking water crisis disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color and can be found in every corner of the state.
For these reasons, over a hundred community organizations support recent legislative proposals to provide ongoing, sustainable funding to repair and maintain the water infrastructure needed to deliver safe water across the state.
Governor Newsom’s January budget and AB 217 (E. Garcia) each provide ongoing funding needed to deliver safe water to California children and families through a small fee on water users, exempting payers with low incomes.
Congratulations to Joaquin Esquivel on his appointment as Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board! He has been and will continue to be an ally to the movement for safe and affordable drinking water. Last week at a hearing on solutions for our state’s drinking crisis, he noted that solving this once and for all is an “immediate moral imperative, and that the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is a ‘keystone’ to complete a comprehensive program.”
We look forward to continuing to work with him on ensuring all Californians have safe and affordable drinking water in his new capacity as Chair alongside the newest Board Member, our Co-Founder Laurel Firestone.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kelsey Hinton, 765-729-1674
February 12, 2019
SACRAMENTO/VISALIA/WATSONVILLE -- We are thrilled to announce that Community Water Center’s Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director Laurel Firestone was appointed today by Governor Gavin Newsom as a Board Member of the State Water Resources Control Board. The Board has broad regulatory oversight and administers significant funding resources impacting California’s water, including access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Statement from Laurel Firestone
In 2006, Susana De Anda and I started the Community Water Center based on a simple idea: that access to safe drinking water is a basic human right. Since then we have worked alongside thousands of local community members and have achieved real progress. But it will take the continued efforts of CWC and community leaders in order to finally secure the California promise of safe, clean, affordable drinking water for all. I accept the Governor's appointment to the State Water Board knowing that CWC is stronger than ever, and I remain committed to working together as part of the movement for water justice.
Statement from Susana De Anda
Laurel has been a champion for the Human Right to Water since the founding of the Center. I know she will continue to be a champion at the State Water Board. Thanks to over a decade of community leadership, the movement for water justice is strong. But the fight for safe drinking water remains urgent. CWC will continue this year to lead alongside community partners to end our state's drinking water crisis which impacts more than 1 million Californians each year, through passage of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. CWC will continue to advocate for protection of groundwater and lift up the needs of communities on the frontline. CWC will continue to organize and build community-centered leadership from the ground up. This is a victory for the community -- today we celebrate Laurel’s appointment, tomorrow the fight for water justice continues.
Statement from Bessma Mourad -- President of the Center’s Board of Directors
Today’s appointment of Laurel Firestone is a reflection of the leadership and impact of the Community Water Center. CWC is a strong organization with a smart, dedicated staff and has relationships within communities impacted by unsafe water going back more than a decade. Led by Co-Founder Susana De Anda and supported by CWC’s leadership team, we are confident that CWC will continue to be at the forefront in the fight for water justice. We congratulate Laurel and look forward to this new chapter in her leadership and impact.
Community Water Center (CWC) was founded in 2006 as a community-based organization that believes all communities should have access to clean, safe, and affordable water. CWC works as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California. For more information, visit www.communitywatercenter.org.
Following the release of California's 2019-2020 state budget proposal, Gov. Gavin Newsom brought cabinet members to the San Joaquin Valley, where many communities are afflicted with unsafe drinking water. He took to Twitter to announce what he was there for:
"Took my Cabinet on a surprise trip to the Central Valley to hear directly from folks who lack access to affordable, clean water.
Our first stop: we met with residents who cannot drink or bathe with the water in their homes"
While in Monterey Park Tract in Ceres, a community with several contaminated wells, Newsom spoke with local media outlets and had this to say:
View the full video of Newsom in Monterey Park Tract below.
Video Source: The Modesto Bee
Gavin Newsom in Stanislaus County to discuss state’s bad water
COALICIÓN DEL FONDO ECONÓMICO PARA TENER AGUA SANA, LIMPIA Y ECONÓMICA
10 de enero, 2019
Contacto: Mike Roth, 916-444-7170 / Maria Elena Jauregui, 818-355-5291 (Medios de comunicación en español)
EL GOBERNADOR NEWSOM HACE QUE EL AGUA POTABLE Y LIMPIA SEA UNA PRIORIDAD A NIVEL ESTATAL
La Coalición Pide A La Legislatura Que Mantenga Su Promesa De Introducir En Su Legislación El Derecho Humano A Tener Agua Potable, Limpia Y Económica Para Todos Los Californianos
Sacramento, CA – La Coalición Del Fondo Económico Para Tener Agua Sana, Limpia Y Económica en respuesta al presupuesto estatal presentado por el gobernador Newsom para el año fiscal 2019-2020 da a conocer la siguiente declaración por parte de Jonathan Nelson, Director de Asuntos Políticos del Centro Comunitario por el Agua:
“Este presupuesto deja en claro que el gobernador Newsom está demostrando su liderazgo para asegurar que todos los californianos puedan finalmente tener acceso al agua sana, limpia y económica. Como organizaciones que trabajamos directamente con las comunidades que no tienen agua sana, limpia y económica, vemos el compromiso del gobernador en trabajar junto con la legislatura para dar un paso histórico y establecer el Fondo Económico Para Tener Agua Sana, Limpia y Económica para terminar esta crisis hacia los derechos humanos que ha amenazado a las personas en todas las regiones de nuestro estado. Estamos de acuerdo en que la crisis en California sea “una desgracia” por tener un millón de personas sin acceso al agua sana, limpia y económica.
“Ahora la legislatura debe introducir inmediatamente una legislación para promulgar el Fondo Económico Para Tener Acceso al Agua Sana, Limpia y Económica y garantizar que cada niño y familia en California pueda tener el acceso universal al agua sana, limpia y económica. Es particularmente importante una inversión permanente para asegurar que las comunidades predominantemente latinas y de escasos recursos ya no sean las más afectadas por la crisis del agua potable en California.
“Esperamos trabajar con el gobernador y los legisladores para asegurar que la inversión sea permanente y sostenible para tener agua sana y económica a través del Fondo Económico Para Tener Agua Sana, Limpia y Económica.”
# # #
SAFE AND AFFORDABLE DRINKING WATER FUND COALITION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2019
CONTACT: Mike Roth, 916-444-7170 / Maria Elena Jauregui, 818-355-5291 (Spanish language media)
GOVERNOR NEWSOM MAKES SAFE DRINKING WATER TOP STATE PRIORITY
Coalition Calls on Legislature to Introduce Legislation that
Keeps Promise of a Human Right to Safe, Affordable Drinking Water
Sacramento, CA – The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Coalition released the following statement from Jonathan Nelson, Policy Director, Community Water Center in response to Governor Newsom’s 2019-2020 state budget proposal:
“This budget makes clear that Governor Newsom is already demonstrating his leadership to ensure all Californians can finally have access to safe and affordable drinking water. As community-based organizations that are working alongside communities without safe, affordable water, we see the Governor’s commitment to working with the Legislature to establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund as a historic step towards addressing this human rights crisis that threatens people in every region of our state. We agree that California’s crisis of one million people without access to safe, affordable drinking water is ‘a disgrace.'
“Now, the Legislature must immediately introduce legislation to enact a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund that will ensure every child, every family, in California can have universal access to safe and affordable drinking water. Ongoing investment is particularly important to ensure communities of color and low-income neighborhoods no longer bear the brunt of California’s drinking water crisis.
“We look forward to working with the Governor and legislators to ensure sustained investments, and sustainable provision of safe and affordable drinking water, through a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.”
# # #
COALICIÓN DEL FONDO ECONÓMICO PARA TENER AGUA SANA, LIMPIA Y ECONÓMICA
7 de enero, 2019
Contacto: Mike Roth, 916-444-7170
LA INAUGURACIÓN DE GAVIN NEWSOM COMO NUEVO GOBERNADOR DE CALIFORNIA ES UNA OPORTUNIDAD PARA QUE TODOS LOS CALIFORNIANOS FINALMENTE LOGREMOS EL DERECHO HUMANO A TENER AGUA SANA, LIMPIA Y ECONÓMICA
Sacramento, CA – El día de hoy, la Coalición Del Fondo Económico Para Tener Agua Sana, Limpia Y Económica, Dan Howells, el Director del estado de California de “Clean Water Action” anunció la siguiente declaración en la inauguración de Gavin Newsom como gobernador de California:
“El Gobernador Gavin Newsom asume el cargo en un momento en que el liderazgo moral de California y su desempeño se ven empañados por nuestro fracaso para lograr que un millón de californianos gocen del derecho humano básico para tener agua potable, limpia y económica.”
"El hecho de que las comunidades en desventaja tengan un alto riesgo por tener agua insegura es una situación que el Gobernador Newsom declaró recientemente y que firmemente declara que ‘es impropio lo que somos y lo que defendemos’. Representando a una amplia coalición de líderes de la comunidad que abogan por el agua y grupos por la justicia económica, estamos preparados y dispuestos a tener soluciones viables. Lo que se necesita para implementar esas soluciones, y de hecho, lo que está muy atrasado, es un compromiso de financiamiento permanente por parte del estado para proporcionar el acceso universal al agua potable y limpia.”
“Siete años después de que California declaró el acceso al agua potable, limpia y económica como un derecho humano, el 2019 debe ser el año en que se cumpla este mandato y el desafío del Gobernador Newsom: ‘Somos dueños de esto, y necesitamos arreglarlo’. Estamos dispuestos a trabajar con el Gobernador y la nueva Legislatura para que sea una realidad el derecho a tener agua sana en nuestros hogares y en las fuentes de agua que hay en las escuelas.
# # #