More than 11.5 million Californians rely on water from suppliers that experienced at least one violation of State Drinking Water Standards as reported to the Department of Public Health in 2004, according to Debbie Davis, policy director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.
Photo: The open sewer New River runs past many low-income homes in Calexico, CA. Photo courtesy of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.
Sacramento, CA – Legislators, safe water advocates, and residents of California communities without access to safe drinking water will gather for a press conference this Monday, February 28, at 2 pm on the North Steps of State Capitol to announce the introduction of the Human Right to Water bill package.
Speakers will include Assembly Member Mike Eng, Assembly Member Paul Fong, Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, United Nations Independent Expert on the Human Right to Water, Catarina de Albuquerque, community advocates, and affected community members.
“The six-bill package includes AB 685 (Eng), which would make it a policy of the state that every Californian has a human right to clean, accessible water for basic human needs,” said Debbie Davis, policy director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. “The five additional bills make changes in state law to begin implementing the human right to water policy and promote access to safe water for the health and well-being of all Californians.”
More than 11.5 million Californians rely on water from suppliers that experienced at least one violation of State Drinking Water Standards as reported to the Department of Public Health in 2004, according to Davis. As many as 8.5 million Californians rely on supplies that experienced more than five instances of unsafe levels in a single year.
“In far too many communities, the sole water supply is contaminated, and families unable to afford treatment are left entirely without safe water,” stated Davis. “In the Central Valley and Central Coast regions, more than 90% of communities depend on groundwater for drinking while nitrate levels in groundwater are sometimes well above safe limits. These communities are at particular risk of adverse health impacts from contaminated water supplies.”
The Human Right to Water Bill Package includes the following bills: AB 685 (Eng) Human Right to Water; AB 938 (V.M. Perez) Language Access on Public Health Notifications; AB 983 (Perea) Access to Clean Up and Abatement Funding; AB 1187 (Fong) Drinking Water Plan; AB 1221 (Alejo) Drinking Water SRF; and SB 244 (Wolk) General Plans.
“The Human Right to Water bill, AB 1242 (Ruskin), passed the Legislature and was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009,” said Davis. “We are hopeful that with Brown’s experience on California water issues, we’ll have a different outcome this year.”
The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water is a network of more than fifty grassroots and intermediary organizations. EJCW works to empower community members to become strong voices for water justice in their communities. The priorities of the member organizations range from indigenous sovereignty to immigrant rights.
For more information, contact: Debbie Davis, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, (916) 743-4406, http://www.ejcw.org.