Cross-posted from the CA League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) blog, Groundswell.
When I think of the basics for survival, a short list comes to mind – food, shelter, warmth, and water. You could probably survive a couple of weeks without those first three things, but if you’re without drinkable water, you’d be lucky if you lasted half a week.
Here we live in a state that has a larger economy than most countries, yet the most basic need of so many Californians is not being met – access to safe, clean drinking water.
In fact, according to the Department of Public Health, more than 11.5 million Californians rely on water from suppliers that experienced at least one violation of State Drinking Water Standards. As many as 8.5 million Californians rely on supplies that experienced more than five instances of unsafe levels in a single year. In the Central Valley and Central Coast regions, more than 90% of communities depend on groundwater for drinking while nitrate levels in groundwater are sometimes well above safe limits. Families unable to afford treatment or bottled water are left entirely without safe water, and are at particular risk of adverse health impacts from contaminated water supplies.
California needs to do better; thankfully Governor Brown agrees.
This past weekend Brown signed into law a package of bills known as the Human Right to Water Package. In his statement about the bills, Brown said,
“Clean drinking water is a basic human right. The bills I have signed today will help ensure that every Californian has access to clean and safe sources of water.”
Thanks to the many people around the state who called or emailed their legislators and the governor in support of the bill package!
The Human Right to Water package looks at a number of ways that the state can help ensure communities are able to provide safe drinking water. Here are 4 of the bills that CLCV worked on:
- SB 244 (Wolk) – Requires local municipalities to include a plan to provide services to island or fringe communities when they update their general plans.
- AB 938 (V.M. Perez) – Requires that public health notifications about water be made available in the languages the community speaks.
- AB 983 (Perea) – Promotes small community water system consolidation to provide sustainable, affordable solutions where possible.
- AB 1221 (Alejo) – Ensures access to funding to clean up contamination for disadvantaged communities.
To learn more about the human right to water package, visit our website: www.ecovote.org/water.