2018–2019 California Budget Priorities: 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.
- 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. $10 million
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Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund
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:
- 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. It’s time for California to deliver on its five-year-old promise of the human right to water.
Water in the news
NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017—T is for Toxic: Danger Lurking in California School Drinking Fountains
NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017—Systemic Failure: Why 1 Million Californians Lack Safe Drinking Water
NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017—Getting to the Roots of California’s Drinking Water Crisis
NewsDeeply.com Water Deeply, July 5, 2017—The 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, 2017—As California Lifts Drought Restrictions, Rural Areas Still Lack Running Water
Weather.com, March 24, 2017—As Many as 700,000 Californians Are Drinking Contaminated Water
Reuters.com, March 22, 2017—Exclusive: Lead poisoning afflicts neighborhoods across California
EDF, March 20, 2017—New film shows that clean water isn’t a guarantee for many in California
EDF, March 14, 2017—Grading 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, 2017—Thousands 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
Ask your senators to reject the Rescissions Package (H.R.3)
Congress is currently considering a bill that it says is taking back money it gave to agencies that the agencies didn’t spend. Some of the provisions on the chopping block, however, have already been committed to rural programs or are key capital sources for programs that address the substantial backlog of housing and infrastructure needs in rural America.
Click here to send an online letter to your Senator today to oppose these cuts.
Click here to download a sample letter to send to your Senator.
These cuts would directly impact RCAC’s ability to serve the needs of rural communities throughout the west. One would claw back funds from the Capital Magnet Fund, which helps RCAC attract private capital to invest in developing low-income housing. Other provisions would take back funds at USDA Rural Development intended for rural water and wastewater systems, rural community facilities, and assistance for renters of rural housing.
We’re asking for your help in letting your Senators know about the importance of these programs and the impact that cutting them may have on the rural communities in your state.
The combined impact of these provisions mean this package will have a disproportionate impact on the rural communities RCAC serves.
Thank you for your continued support and for all that you do for your community.
Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act (SB3)
There is a housing crisis in California. The gap between wages and housing costs continues to widen, with families spending more than 30 percent, and sometimes up to 50 percent, of their household income on housing. Families suffer long commutes, live in overcrowded housing or in their cars. Homelessness impacts too many Californians.
A coalition of affordable housing advocates, business leaders, labor, veterans and environmental groups support the $4 billion Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act (SB3). The bond will go before California voters in November.
What the bond does for California veterans, struggling families and people with disabilities:
- Dedicates funding to help military veterans have a safe place to call home
- Provides stable housing for struggling families, people experiencing homelessness and individuals with disabilities
- Builds affordable homes for hardworking people like grocery clerks, nurse aides and teaching assistants. This helps people live in the communities where they work and serve, while still having money for basics like groceries, gas and child care
- Tackles top priorities for Californians – building homes, creating jobs and boosting the economy. It’s expected to create 137,000 jobs and pump $23.4 billion into California’s economy.
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Go to https://www.vetsandaffordablehousingact.org/ to find out how you can support SB 3.
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(Last updated on April 4, 2018.)