California made history in 2012 after becoming the first state in the U.S. to declare that clean drinking water is a human right. Today however, nearly 300 California communities (many of them located in the San Joaquin Valley) do not have safe drinking water.
The California State Water Board’s new website, the Human Right to Water portal, reveals data about every public water system in California including all violations within the past five years. Close to 400,000 California residents are impacted by unsafe water due to contaminants including arsenic, nitrates, and uranium. More than half of those residents are living in the San Joaquin Valley. In Kings County 40 percent of residents, nearly half of the population, lack access to safe drinking water.
Estimates of impacted residents could skyrocket later this year, once the state begins regulating contaminants like 1,2,3-TCP (a carcinogen commonly found in drinking water).