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Governor signs AB 862: Emergency Drinking Water and Wastewater Package

California communities and schools continue to face severe challenges to access safe drinking water. More than a million Californians pay for water services that fail to meet safe drinking water standards. The recent drought’s continued impact means thousands still face dry wells, and uncertain rainfall patterns mean drought is a constant threat. The $23.5 million funding package below would provide emergency assistance for low-income communities, families, and schools. Gov. Brown signed AB 862 in September, which will provide emergency assistance for low-income communities, families, and schools.

  • Emergency relief – wells and septic systems: Increase funding for emergency relief (drought and public health threats) including, but not limited to, well replacement, septic system replacement, permanent connections to public systems, well abandonment, septic system abandonment, Point of Use and Point of Entry systems and debt relief.   $10 million
  • Emergency relief – water tanks: Nearly 300 households with dry wells still rely on water tanks that are filled by trucks to serve their basic household water needs and additional households have experienced total well failures in the past year, thus too late to access the water tank program. Funding is needed to install tank systems for homes that have had wells recently go dry and continue to supply water tanks with water as an emergency measure while households await new wells or upgrades to community water systems. $3.5 million
  • State Water Board’s Drinking Water for Schools Program: Building on the program established in the 2016 state budget this program will provide additional funding to expand the State Water Board’s Safe Drinking Water for Schools grant program. This program helps to supply access to safe drinking water for students in schools that currently lack a source of clean drinking water While long-term solutions are debated, funded and brought online, the State Water Board’s Drinking Water for Schools program is a cost effective and low-impact way to provide immediate safe drinking water access to students in low-income, rural communities, including addressing contamination issues like lead, 1,2,3,- TCP and arsenic. Numerous initial evaluation results prove the many merits of this program. $6.8 million

Water in the news

Raconteur, September 18,2018Supporting the human right to water

The New York Times, August 21, 2018Safe Drinking Water for All

Water Deeply, August 21, 2018California’s Can’t-Miss Chance to Provide Safe Drinking water for All

Water Deeply, June 14, 2018Toxic Trap: Groundwater Overpumping Boosts Arsenic in California Aquifer

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


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(Last updated December 2018.)