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Californians need safe drinking water now

In 2012 California became the first state in the country to legislatively declare: “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water.”

Five years later, 300 communities and one million Californians—more than the population of Flint, Michigan—lack this basic human right, as they are exposed to unsafe drinking water each year. Unsafe drinking water impacts families. Drinking water with contaminants like arsenic and nitrates causes rashes, miscarriages and cancer. Some families spend a sizeable portion of their income to pay for bottled water, on top of monthly water bills, for water that is not even safe to drink.

Children are especially at risk: Unsafe drinking water impacts as many as one in four schools in the Central Valley, and some are spending their limited school budget on bottled water to ensure children stay hydrated during the school day.

SB 623 would provide an ongoing funding source to ensure all Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water. More than 80 organizations support this bill, including:

  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Labor
  • Faith communities
  • Environmental and environmental justice

Polling shows that more than two-thirds of Californians support this type of solution to our drinking water crisis.

California has always been a leader, and we have high standards in almost every area of public life. It’s time we caught up on drinking water. It’s time for California to deliver on its five-year-old promise of the human right to water.

Thanks for standing with us!

California Drinking Water Priorities

California communities and schools continue to face severe challenges to access safe drinking water. The water serving more than one million Californians fails to meet safe drinking water standards and thousands of wells have gone dry.

Drinking water advocates release statement on 2017-2018 state budget.

Water in the news

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017T is for Toxic: Danger Lurking in California School Drinking Fountains

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017Systemic Failure: Why 1 Million Californians Lack Safe Drinking Water

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017Getting to the Roots of California’s Drinking Water Crisis

NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017The California Drought Isn’t Over, It Just Went Underground

NPR Valley Public Radio, May 2, 2017—Drinking Water Is A Human Right, But These Valley Residents Don’t Have It 

NPR Capital Public Radio, April 10, 2017As California Lifts Drought Restrictions, Rural Areas Still Lack Running Water

Weather.com, March 24, 2017As Many as 700,000 Californians Are Drinking Contaminated Water

Reuters.com, March 22, 2017—Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California

EDF, March 20, 2017New film shows that clean water isn’t a guarantee for many in California

EDF, March 14, 2017Grading the nation: Lead pipe disclosure policies

ABC 30, March 9, 2017—Merced County schools hope new water fountains improve access to safe drinking water

NBC 7 San Diego, March 7, 2017Thousands of Californians Have Contaminated Water Coming From Taps

The Sacramento BEE, February 17, 2017—California has its own Flint, needs funding for safe drinking water

The Sacramento Bee, February 11, 2017—Most Sacramento area schools do not test drinking water for lead

Support Federal Funding for Rural Programs

High unemployment rates, sub-standard housing and poverty are commonplace in low-income rural communities, which makes it a struggle to keep up in today’s economy. Many of these communities also face daunting challenges to access safe, clean drinking water, provide affordable housing, improve their economies and to provide other vital services. Critical funding is at risk in the current administration’s budget proposal for FY 2018, including funds that support rural affordable housing, safe drinking water and community and economic development.

These programs are crucial to create and maintain vibrant, healthy and enduring rural communities, which are the foundation of our nation, the DNA that connects us all.

Governor Brown signs affordable housing bills

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(Last updated on Aug. 8, 2017.)