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Sen. Bill Monning’s drinking water fund bill signed by Governor

State Sen. Bill Monning’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund aimed at providing $1.4 billion over a decade to help provide clean water for some of the state’s neediest areas most affected by sub-standard water quality was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. In a statement, Monning, D-Carmel, lauded Newsom’s support for the legislation, known as SB 200, and the fruition of a years-long effort to fund safe drinking water initiatives.

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Newsom Signs Clean Water Bill, Raises Funds in Valley Stop

Visiting a dot on the map in Fresno County called Tombstone, Gov. Gavin Newsom hoped to put an end to unsafe drinking water. The governor on Wednesday came to a home south of Sanger and signed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund (SB 200), which will provide up $130 million a year for infrastructure and maintenance of water facilities.

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Newsom signs clean drinking water bill in Sanger

During a swing through the San Joaquin Valley, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the Tombstone neighborhood outside of Sanger to sign a bill that will fund clean drinking water infrastructure for rural California communities.

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The Crisis Lurking in Californians’ Taps: How 1,000 Water Systems May Be at Risk

Already, more than 300 public water systems in the state are out of compliance with federal drinking water safety standards, according to publicly available data, and an estimated one million Californians are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year. Those are the ones the state knows about because their water quality has already been tested as unsafe.

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Gov. Gavin Newsom signs State Safe Drinking Water Fund into law

It's a first for California, and a first for State Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 200 into law today flanked by supporters in the Central Valley city of Sanger in a signing ceremony—the first such ceremony for the signing of any of Monning's 100-plus bills since he was first elected to the California Legislature in 2008.

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Communities Without Safe Drinking Water Celebrate Historic Victory as Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Deliver on Human Right

“Governor Newsom’s signature on SB 200 is a historic moment for the communities across our state who have worked for decades to secure the human right to safe, affordable drinking water. Through tireless work, organizing, advocacy and education, they raised awareness of and demanded justice for the one million Californians living with toxic taps."

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‘We’ve been neglectful, and it’s outrageous.’ Newsom signs clean water bill in Fresno County

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed into law the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund bill in the tiny Fresno County community of Tombstone Territory — where residents rely on bottled water because the water from their private wells is contaminated. Starting next year, Senate Bill 200 will provide $130 million annually to clean up drinking water in California communities like Tombstone that lack access to safe water.

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California Governor Signs Bill To Fund Safe Drinking Water Projects

About 1 million Californians lack access to safe drinking water, according to the governor’s office. “The fact that more than a million Californians can’t rely on clean water to drink or bathe in is a moral disgrace,” Newsom said in a news release. “Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids drinking from the water fountain at school, and families shouldn’t have to dump water over their heads to shower every day.”

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State Water Agreement is a Victory for Health Equity

Water is a fundamental determinant of health. That’s why it’s such important news that the governor and legislature agreed to establish ongoing funding to make sure every resident in our state has access to clean, affordable water. According to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Coalition, the investment will equal at least $1.4 billion over the next 11 years.

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Communities Celebrate Assembly Vote to Create a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and Urge Early Senate Vote to Concur

“Today’s Assembly vote brings us one step closer to solutions for the million Californians without safe drinking water. We would like to thank the Speaker for his commitment to finding a solution this year, SB 200’s co-authors, and to the members who voted to support SB 200. We now urge a swift vote by the Senate and a prompt signature by Governor Newsom so we can get to work making their commitment a reality. “

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A Million Californians Don’t Have Clean Drinking Water. Where Do They Live?

Julia Mendoza wants the tap water she pays for to be clean and safe, but it hasn’t been for nearly a decade. “If we want clean water for bathing, that’s not for us,” she said in Spanish. “That’s for rich cities, not for us.” Mendoza, 42, and her family live in Cantua Creek in western Fresno County, a town of about 100 homes that is inextricably tied to the farmland surrounding it.

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Progress in the Fight for Safe Drinking Water

Sometimes it is important not to sacrifice the good for the perfect. The result here is good. Good for California. And, most importantly, good for people who lack clean drinking water. It is not perfect. A safe climate and clean water are basic human rights. If we are going to protect our communities from the ravages of climate change as well as ensure clean drinking water for all, reliable funding is needed on all fronts.

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With Budget Vote, California One Step Closer to Finally Delivering Safe Drinking Water to All

“Impacted communities have been fighting for the human right to safe, affordable drinking water for decades and today’s vote leaves no doubt their message was heard by Governor Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders. We urge swift passage of the related trailer bill so California can begin writing a new chapter in the long journey toward justice for impacted communities.”

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California’s Clean Drinking Water Problem

Earlier this week, environmental activists and people who lack access to clean water rallied on the capitol steps to urge state lawmakers to act. Among them were longtime labor activist Dolores Huerta and Susana De Anda, executive director and co-founder of Community Water Center. She joins Insight to discuss the issue of unhealthy water and its impact on communities.

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Van Boening: Time to solve California’s unsafe drinking water crisis

The toxic drinking water problem only worsens as the climate continues to change. Droughts deplete groundwater, concentrating toxins. Flooding and rising sea levels lead to more contamination. Extreme heat events make the need for safe and affordable drinking water even more critical. We can and must ensure our state’s contaminated water systems are fixed. Fortunately, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leadership have remained committed to developing a commonsense, sustainable solution.

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California Looks To Clean Air Funds To Pay For Clean Drinking Water

Erica Fernandez Zamora moved to the Central Valley after graduating from Stanford. She relies on bottled water because her well near the city of Visalia is contaminated. “With bacteria it will be a simple solution just to boil the water, but for nitrates when you boil the water the contaminant actually concentrates more,” Fernandez Zamora said.

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A civil rights hero focuses on a new fight at the Capitol: clean drinking water

Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, 89, mounted the north steps of the Capitol on Monday afternoon. She stood aside safe water activists to celebrate the state’s $130 million safe water funding proposal and pressure legislators to pass the measure this week. “This is a big, giant moment in the state of California to finally provide safe drinking water to a million families,” Huerta said. “The only thing we need now is for the Senate and the Assembly to vote yes.”

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Legendary Civil Rights Leader Dolores Huerta Joins Impacted Communities For Water Strike

Community members, local leaders, and environmental justice advocates will urge the “Big 3” to secure a sustainable funding source by June 15 that provides the greatest level of certainty possible for universal, permanent access to safe water, and that is protected from a future economic downtown. California must put such a solution in place this month, because the one million Californians without safe water don’t deserve to wait any longer. Many have lived their entire lives without access to clean water.

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‘We couldn’t even take showers’: Californians with unsafe drinking water appeal for fixes

A coalition of California residents affected by unsafe drinking water held a symbolic “water strike” at the Capitol on Wednesday, pressing lawmakers to fund a plan that would clean up their water sources. More than 1 million Californians lack access to clean drinking water, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. An additional 2 million people are vulnerable to contamination, according to the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Coalition.

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June 5: Impacted Communities Launch Water Strike

With a state budget required to be passed by the Legislature by June 15, California residents impacted by unsafe water will travel to the Capitol on Wednesday to urgently call for a long-term, sustainable Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. There impacted residents will launch a Water Strike where they will symbolically forgo safe water for an hour in solidarity with the one million Californians who lack safe water every day, to draw attention to this unjust public health crisis and push for a safe water solution by June 15. This Water Strike will be continued next week in the run-up to the June 15 budget deadline. Impacted residents will also conduct a vigil and read off the names of the more than 300 communities that lack safe water.

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Toxic drinking water is a public health crisis. Here’s a path to urgent action

The health and safety of millions of Californians hangs in the balance. We urge the governor and the state’s legislative leaders to figure out what’s actually possible and stop kicking the water can down the road. After all, it’s been seven years since California passed the Human Right to Water Act, which declares that everyone “has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking and sanitary purposes.”

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All Californians deserve safe drinking water

Despite their lack of access to safe drinking water, these one million Californians continue to pay bills to pipe in water they can only use to flush their toilets – not to drink, bathe, or cook with. These residents are then forced to buy bottles and jugs of drinking water even though they’re already paying for water to be delivered to their home. This results in the most economically disadvantaged paying more for water than the rest of us. It is, as Governor Gavin Newsom has said, a situation “unbecoming of who we are and what we stand for” as Californians.

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1 million Californians use tainted water. Will state pass a clean-water tax?

Hundreds of communities, and more than 1 million Californians, facing a similar struggle for safe and affordable water are now at the center of a budget fight at the state Capitol over how to fix the problem. After several failed attempts, there is momentum this legislative session to establish a fund for small water agencies unable to provide customers with clean drinking water because of the high treatment costs.

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Dolores Huerta condemns ‘toxic taps,’ supports proposed water tax at Valley rally

Dolores Huerta, legendary farm labor activist, appeared as the rally's keynote speaker. A co-founder of what would become the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez, Huerta helped organize the 1965 Delano grape strike not 30 miles away from the Bakersfield rally. Huerta noted that for many of California's farmworker and minority communities, little progress has been achieved in the subsequent 40 years. She called for unity to put an end to toxic taps across the state through the passage of the water fund.

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Dolores Huerta Foundation and City of Arvin rally for Governor’s Safe Water Fund

The Dolores Huerta Foundation and City of Arvin held a rally outside Senator Melissa Hurtado's office in Downtown Bakersfield. Attendees spoke about their personal experiences to the cause as well as advocated for the importance of the fund. "California must put such a solution in place by June, because the one million Californians without safe water don’t deserve to wait any longer," said Dolores Huerta.

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Huerta, local leaders urge lawmakers to support clean drinking water fund to be paid for through tax

Community activist Dolores Huerta joined local leaders in East Bakersfield to urge elected leaders Tuesday to vote in favor of legislation they say will ensure safe drinking water for communities in the valley. Specifically, Huerta urged the legislature to support what's being termed the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. If passed, the $140 million fund would be used for the maintenance of water treatment facilities. It would be financed by the tax payers, estimated to be a one dollar per month tax increase on every water bill in California.

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Safe drinking water must be a priority for this legislative session

As 15 major California businesses wrote earlier this month to California legislative leaders, businesses depend “on a reliable, good quality source of water in California for both our operations and for the communities where our employees and customers live.” Increasingly we are seeing businesses engage in social issues important to the communities they serve and to their employees. They want to help accelerate a sustainable solution. The businesses expressing their opinions join public health experts, environmental groups, agricultural groups, community advocates and Gov. Gavin Newsom in stating that safe drinking water must be a priority for this legislative session.

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Monterey County leaders rally support for state safe drinking water fund

The state's water board says more than a million Californians don't have access to safe drinking water in their home. There have been more than 70 water systems in Monterey County that have been cited for having contaminants like nitrates and arsenic. Friday, local leaders are getting behind a new proposal by Governor Gavin Newsom to provide safe drinking water.

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Speaker Rendon Signs on as Co-Author Of Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Legislation

“While the momentum is clear, we must now turn this commitment into a real solution during the upcoming budget process — because the more than 1 million Californians without safe water don’t deserve to wait any longer. Californians in both urban and rural communities have struggled with unsafe drinking water for decades, with low-income families and communities of color bearing the brunt of this public health crisis. We urge the Legislature to seize this historic moment and, in partnership with the Governor, to come together to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in June.”

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They Grow the Nation’s Food, but They Can’t Drink the Water

“The fact that more than a million Californians in 2019 have been left behind is really appalling,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. “I’ll never forget talking to people in Imperial and Coachella Valley who are like, ‘You know what, it’s amazing when we go back to Mexico, the water is better.’” Mr. Blumenfeld said the “vast majority” of water systems with unsafe water are in small communities where there are too few customers to cover the cost of water treatment and maintenance. Laying even short distances of pipe can cost millions of dollars, which is sometimes feasible when costs are spread out among many people but not so for individual families, or when towns are especially remote.

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It’s Time to End Toxic Taps in the Valley. Here’s how.

This is why the Board of California Citrus Mutual and other leading agricultural organizations support what we see as the most likely solution. It may not be perfect, but nothing ever is. We can and should address this inequity by supporting the most promising solution available today. This proposal will cost most of us who can afford it less than three premium lattes a year.

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California Legislators Want Safe Drinking Water. They Haven’t Agreed On How To Fund It.

Veronica Garibay is with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, an organization that has advocated for clean drinking water and supports Newsom’s call for a tax to fund it. “Today there is no source of funding that pays for ongoing operation and maintenance costs, which is really expensive when having to treat contamination in disadvantaged communities,” says Garibay. “What ends up happening is communities simply cannot afford to have safe drinking water at the tap.”

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Editorial: A new water tax might be California’s best chance at clean water for all

At least 1 million Californians don’t have stable access to clean drinking water. That’s a shameful and unacceptable fact in this wealthy state. In his February State of the State address, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the safe drinking water crisis — which is centered in lower-income communities ranging from the coasts to the Central Valley — “a moral disgrace and a medical emergency.” He’s right.

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CALmatters Commentary: Californians must pitch in to make drinking water safe for everyone

Without an ongoing source of funding for operations and maintenance, these communities, found mostly in economically disadvantaged areas, cannot afford to build treatment plants and then have funding disappear. The long-term solution that Gov. Newsom proposes is to extend to water the same sort of public benefit charges that have long been applied to other utilities, such as electricity and natural gas. All users would pay a very small fee each month–in this case, it amounts to 95 cents a month for most households–to ensure that all Californians have access to life’s necessities.

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Don’t panic, but California has yet another water problem

But many of the parties reached a tentative accord two years ago, which would impose fees on dairies, fertilizer sellers and most residential water customers (who would pay about 95 cents more per month). It’s a good solution. Former Gov. Jerry Brown supported it but couldn’t persuade the Legislature to approve it. Gov. Gavin Newsom is a strong supporter but is still dealing with opposition from water agencies. The Environmental Health report strengthens his case.

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Governor Affirms Commitment to Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund in May Revise

Since the Governor released his January budget, the need for action to fix toxic taps has only become more urgent. A widely-reported study offers new evidence linking arsenic and other contaminants in Californians’ drinking water to cancer and other serious diseases. Among the school districts reporting on lead contamination, one-third of school districts had a school with lead levels at more than 5 parts per billion (ppb) - five times the level that should require action, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Contaminated tap water in California at center of debate between lawmakers

Governor Newsom has proposed a competing measure that would implement a tax of fee on water customers to build up a safe drinking water fund for the state. Newsom recently signed an executive order directing state agencies to identify actions California needs to take to ensure safe and resilient water supplies.

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Cancer water? Unsafe drinking water puts 15,000 Californians at risk, study says

Nearly 5,000 people out of 3.1 million Californians in small- to medium-sized communities could develop cancer because they’re drinking water from close to 500 contaminated systems. Another 28.5 million Californians are drinking from more than 1,100 contaminated systems, leading to a potential 10,427 lifetime cancer cases. The report’s release coincides with a push by Gov. Gavin Newsom and some state lawmakers to create a new drinking water fee that would pay for improvements in communities with unsafe tap water.

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California’s New Enviro Chief Talks Alternative Pesticides, Recycling Reform and Trump ‘Upside-Down Days’

A million Californians don't have access to safe and affordable drinking water. It's shocking. That's partly because of pollution from things like pesticides, all the way through naturally occurring arsenic and even things like uranium. So we're working very hard with the Legislature to make sure we get the money needed to start addressing this in a systematic way.

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A California tax to clean up toxic drinking water has lawmakers jumpy

There’s bad water all over California in poor communities, including those on the Central Coast and in the Coachella Valley. Rebecca Zaragoza, a community organizer with the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, grew up in a mobile home park in Thermal near Coachella. “They don’t have water that’s safe to drink,” she says of several local mobile home parks. “They have to buy bottled water. They cook with bottled water. It’s not safe to shower with the tap water either, but there’s not much families can do about that.”

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San Diego Union-Tribune Commentary: Why California needs water tax

California is the only state in the nation that has codified the human right to water. Along with the innovation that streams out of the Silicon Valley, the food that feeds the world that grows in the Central Valley, the creativity that flows from Los Angeles and the beauty that pours out of San Diego, Californians should be proud that we recognize the human right to water. Our pride, though, is diminished by the more than 1 million Californians who do not have access to safe, affordable drinking water in their homes and in their schools.

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San Jose Mercury News Opinion: California must prioritize clean drinking water for all

Silicon Valley companies are known for their innovation and creativity; from the development of laptops and smart phones that make people more productive, to the zero-emission vehicles that will reduce air pollution, and the apps that keep us all connected. Sadly, not everything produced in the Golden State is a source of pride; namely cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and birth defects caused by contaminants in our state’s water – which affects approximately 1 million Californians.

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Water Advocates, Communities Living with Toxic Water Praise Passage of Safe Water Funding Bill from Asm. Environmental Safety Committee

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.

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Tulare schools among many with lead-tainted drinking water

Thousands of students across California drink water contaminated with lead, according to a new statewide report. “This alarming new report on the health risks threatening children right in their own schools is even more evidence that California must act now to deliver safe water throughout the state through the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund,” said Mike Claiborne with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. “Pediatricians, school officials, parents, teachers and students themselves are joining our call to action — we can’t wait any longer to deliver on the promise of safe and affordable drinking water for kids and for all Californians.” The report states that California’s drinking water crisis "disproportionately impacts low-income communities and communities of color and can be found in every corner of the state.” The study emphasizes the urgency for California’s lawmakers to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund.

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More Urgency for Legislature to Pass Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund After New Report Finds Lead-Contaminated Water in More than 400 California Schools

A new report released today 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. Governor Newsom’s January budget, SB 200 (Monning) 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.

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California governor pushes for fee to clean up tainted water

The Democratic governor says up to 1 million California residents have some type of contaminated or unclean water coming through their taps that can cause health issues. He has called it "a moral disgrace and a medical emergency." "The fact that in California, in the fifth-largest economy, we have people who cannot drink their water, people who can't even bathe in their water, there's something absolutely wrong," Democratic Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes said Wednesday during a hearing on Newsom's plan.

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My turn: To fulfill clean water law, state must focus on L.A.’s small systems

The state must expand funding for small water system operations and maintenance, infrastructural improvements, and disaster planning. More funding could come from Gov. Newsom’s proposed tax, or other means. Given the limited capacity of small systems, the funding must be accessible and the application process user-friendly.

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Editorial: California’s contaminated drinking water is a disgrace

About 1 million Californians can’t safely drink their tap water. Approximately 300 water systems in California currently have contamination issues ranging from arsenic to lead to uranium at levels that create severe health issues. It’s a disgrace that demands immediate state action.

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ABC’s of your Health: Access to safe and affordable drinking water is finally a priority in the state, advocates

For many underserved communities of color in the Central Valley, the New Year started on the right track as the Gov. Gavin Newsom made access to safe and affordable drinking water a priority in the state. Organizations such as the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund Coalition applauded Newsom’s efforts to address a “human rights crisis” that threatens people in every region of the state to make sure community without safe, affordable water, many of them in the Central Valley, have access to the vital liquid.

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California’s unfilled promise on access to safe water

While most Californians believe strongly that all Californians should have safe drinking water, most Californians don’t understand the breadth of contaminants that impact communities throughout the state, and how significant those impacts are.

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Gov. Newsom delivers a message: ‘We’re in this together’

The governor of a state of 40 million cannot be expected to do the work of a county supervisor or school board member. But Newsom’s presence in Stanislaus County was significant. And making clean water one of his first priorities undoubtedly will help county supervisors and school board members across the state do their jobs better.

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Tainted Drinking Water a Problem for 360,000 Californians

In the Central Valley, in particular, excess amounts of arsenic, nitrates and other substances that can cause cancers and birth defects have tainted drinking water. In Compton, residents have been living with foul-smelling brown water because the cost of fixing the pipes is high, and many can’t afford to buy a constant supply of bottled water.

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Community Voices: Support bill to ensure safe drinking water

The majority of communities bearing the brunt of unsafe drinking water are poor, rural, or disadvantaged; unable to invest in or sustain proper water treatment systems or upgrading decrepit water infrastructure that contributes to their water problems.

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NBC Bay Area: “Nearly a Million Californians Exposed To Pesticide Chemical Linked To Cancer in Their Drinking Water”

"Up to 1 million Californians, mostly in the farming communities of the Central Valley, have dangerous levels of an unregulated chemical linked to cancer in their drinking water, according to California’s State Water Board data. Now, the state is considering a legal maximum contaminant level for the chemical."

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Comcast: “San Joaquin Valley”

"California Water Board representative Maria Herrera is working with the Valley’s rural communities to secure funding for technical advancements and overall improvement of the state water systems."

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SAN DIEGO TRIBUNE: “California’s poor hit hardest by unsafe drinking”

"Children are especially at risk. As many as one in four schools in the Central Valley have been impacted by unsafe drinking water. Some must spend their limited funding — meant for books and teachers and pens and paper — on bottled water and to install porta potties."

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NBC LA. “Map: Schools At Greatest Risk For Lead In Water”

"School districts across the County are requesting water testing after dangerous levels of lead were discovered at a San Ysidro elementary school. Health experts say the schools most likely to have unsafe levels of lead in drinking water are those built before 1986."

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Water Online: “California Advocates Push For Contaminated Water Fund”

"The eight-county San Joaquin Valley has some of the most contaminated aquifers in the nation: 92 drinking water systems in the San Joaquin Valley had a well with nitrate levels above the legal limit from 2005 to 2008, potentially affecting the water quality of approximately 1.3 million residents."

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NY Times: “Q. and A.: Xavier Becerra on Immigration, ‘Calexit’ and More”

"So when it comes to defending California’s rigorous standards for clean and safe drinking water, I’m ready. And I won’t wait until a catastrophe happens. If our state agencies which handle that oversight fall short, then I will consider using my independent authority under the California Constitution to investigate and prosecute violators of our clean water laws."

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SF Weekly: “Drinking Water Crisis Brewing in California”

"The drinking water crisis of Flint, Michigan may be happening again, right here in California. That’s the assessment of the State Water Resources Control Board, who note that approximately 400 communities in California have water that does not meet safe drinking standards."

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