By Elizabeth Zach, staff writer

RCAC joined a drinking water advocate coalition to ask California lawmakers for more funding to support small disadvantaged water systems and to provide access to safe drinking water for schools.

During an Assembly Budget Committee No. 3 Resources and Transportation meeting, RCAC CEO Stanley Keasling noted that the drinking water advocates group has proposed a $56 million budget package to advance the human right to water in California. He added that 20 Assembly members have already expressed support for the request.

“There is no rule for testing lead in schools; it’s not required,” Felicia Marcus, State Water Resources Control Board chair told the Assembly members …

At a time when clean water is on the national radar, following the revelation that Flint, Michigan’s, water was contaminated with high lead levels, the Assembly members at Wednesday’s meeting acknowledged that they and their fellow lawmakers need more information about California’s own water supply.

“There is no rule for testing lead in schools; it’s not required,” Felicia Marcus, State Water Resources Control Board chair told the Assembly members, adding that the water board regulates water used at 500 California schools and day care centers because the schools are connected to public water systems.

Coalition members testified on the need to provide technical and financial resources to advance the human right to water for all Californians, targeting communities with no water due to the drought, schools with contaminated drinking water, and other highly vulnerable communities, including those served by domestic wells.

“We need emergency solutions,” Laurel Firestone, co-executive director of the Community Water Center told the Assembly members. “But we also need intermediate and permanent solutions, particularly in high poverty areas.”

For updates and to support the budget request, go here: http://www.rcac.org/rural-advocacy/take-action/