Five years ago California became the first state in the nation to recognize access to safe, clean drinking water as a human right. Today, the reality for hundreds of communities throughout the state is they have tap water that’s too contaminated to drink and no money to clean it up. Over 300 mostly rural and economically disadvantaged California communities have water that has dangerous levels of arsenic, uranium, or nitrates, which have drastic health implications. The biggest barrier in solving this issue is that these small communities simply do not have the money to build and run water treatment systems. The solution is Senate Bill 623, introduced by Senator Monning, which would establish a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund and subsidize the operation and maintenance costs of cleanup efforts in these communities. Many environmental groups such as Community Water Center and Clean Water Action are backing SB 623 in hopes it bill will bring relief to these communities, where residents feel their calls for help have long been ignored. Currently, SB623 is sitting in the House Rules Committee until the legislature is back in session next year. Continuing to fight for and support SB623 is crucial for its successful passage next year!
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En California tenemos un gran problema con respecto al agua. Aunque siempre oímos de la falta de agua en California, un problema serio que todavía tenemos es que hay hasta un millón de personas en nuestro estado que no tienen agua potable. Hay más de 300 comunidades que la calidad del agua potable está por debajo de los estándares federales. Las comunidades más afectadas son las más pobres, las que están en zonas rurales, y las que no están en condiciones de invertir en los sistemas de tratamiento de agua o en actualizar su infraestructura hidráulica. La solución de esta problema es aprobar la SB 623 que asegura que todos los californianos tengan acceso al agua sana porque la necesitan y la merecen. La SB 623 pasó de forma unánime en el Senado estatal y ahora es urgente que los legisladores aprueben la SB 623 para asegurar que todos los californianos tengamos agua limpia, sana, y económica.
Publicado en la parte editorial por el periódico La Opinión, conocido por ser el periódico más grande de habla hispana en los Estados Unidos, y el segundo periódico más leído en la ciudad de Los Ángeles, la editorial apoya la SB 623! Lea el artículo aqui
In Alpaugh, a small California town home to about 1,000 people, Sandra Meraz is one of many who struggles daily with not having safe and affordable drinking water. The water in Alpaugh is contaminated by arsenic, and Meraz refuses to drink or cook with the water, resulting in her having to pay a large amount of money on bottled water, while still paying a monthly water bill. The passage of SB 623 would solve this problem not only for Alpaugh but also for over 300 other California communities who also struggle with lack of safe, clean, and affordable drinking water. SB 623 establishes a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which would make short- and long-term drinking water solutions available to low-income Californians who lack safe and affordable drinking water. Further, SB 623 would assist with operations and maintenance costs for low-income communities that can’t afford treatment for their drinking water.
Check out Sandra’s full op-ed in The Hanford Sentinel here
Arvin is one of 42 communities in Kern County impacted by unsafe drinking water. Mayor Jose Gurrola grew up in Arvin and has experienced firsthand the struggle that comes from living in a town with undrinkable water. Arsenic contaminates the water of Arvin, and drinking water with arsenic has unforgiving consequences, including: respiratory illness, reduced mental functioning, and cancer. No one should have to turn on the tap to water that can lead to such horrible outcomes. SB 623 aids communities like Arvin by ensuring that all Californians have access to the clean drinking water that they need and deserve. It prioritizes low-income communities that do not meet primary drinking water standards or have access to affordable water.
Check out Mayor Gurrola’s full op-ed in The Bakersfield Californian here
Although our recent wet weather has eased water shortages and droughts that California was facing, lawmakers and water agencies cannot stop just yet. There are still more than a million Californians who are left without safe and affordable drinking water, a problem that does not improve with precipitation. These Californians must either pay huge amounts to have safe water delivered to them, or suffer the many consequences that result from drinking, cooking with, and bathing in unsafe water. Most low-income communities that are faced with this problem do not have the funds to pay for clean water and consequently, suffer those consequences. The solution to this problem is establishing a $100-million fund to finance projects that supply clean, safe and affordable water to people currently without it. Growers would pay a fee on fertilizer or some other assessment for a 15-year period. Water ratepayers across the state would fund most of the rest through a 95-cent fee each month. The passage Senate Bill 623 would ensure that all Californians have access to the basic human right of safe, clean and affordable drinking water.
Check out this excellent editorial in support of SB 623 from the Los Angeles Times
Central Valley leaders demanded the creation of a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund earlier this month in Visalia.
The diverse coalition of more than 90 organizations that has supported Senate Bill 623 (Monning) this year remains committed to the fight for safe drinking water. One million Californians turn on their taps to dangerous water. This injustice has gone on for too long. By delaying action on Senate Bill 623 this year, the state legislature chose to leave our most vulnerable Californians in the midst of a vast public health crisis that dwarfs that experienced by Flint, Michigan.
When the legislature reconvenes in January, we will continue our advocacy to ensure all Californians have access to the basic human right to safe and affordable water.
Hundreds of individuals across the state contacted their legislators to demand a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. The historically diverse coalition behind SB 623 is a testament to the urgency of this issue and the unique opportunity afforded by SB 623.
The policies represented in SB 623 are informed by years of experience and discussion about how to solve California’s long-standing gap in operations and maintenance funding for drinking water treatment. They are the result of a year of bipartisan policy discussions, convened by the author, Senate Majority Leader Senator Bill Monning, and crafted with input from major environmental justice, environmental, water, health, and agricultural stakeholders.
We urge the Legislature to act swiftly to resolve California's long-standing drinking water crisis, and to take advantage of the unique opportunity afforded by SB 623 to do so.
September 1, 2017 | Sacramento - In an important step forward toward securing safe and affordable drinking water for all Californians, Senate Bill 623 (Monning) moved out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Assembly Rules Committee today.
The bipartisan coalition of more than 80 organizations that has supported SB 623 this year remains committed to the fight for safe drinking water and thanks Assembly leadership for recognizing the importance of this historic bill, and for the opportunity to continue working toward the critical goal of ensuring safe water for all.
California has a drinking water crisis much larger in scope than that of Flint, Michigan. More than one million Californians and 300 communities are impacted by unsafe drinking water every year.
The policies represented in SB 623 are informed by years of discussion about how to solve California’s long-standing gap in operations and maintenance funding for drinking water treatment. They are the result of a year of bipartisan policy discussions, convened by the author, Senate Majority Leader Senator Bill Monning, and crafted with input from major environmental justice, environmental, water, health, and agricultural stakeholders.
The historically diverse coalition behind SB 623 is a testament to the urgency of this issue and the unique opportunity afforded by SB 623.
We urge the Legislature to act as swiftly as possible to resolve California's long-standing drinking water crisis, and to take advantage of the unique opportunity afforded by SB 623 for the good of California both now and for decades to come.