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Assembly Hearing Addresses Unsafe Drinking Water Issues

On the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal to address the statewide public health crisis of unsafe drinking water with a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, community members living with the daily impacts of unsafe drinking water and advocates are urging legislators to adopt legislation to make this proposal a reality.

At a joint hearing of the Assembly Committees on Water, Parks and Wildlife, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials, and Budget Subcommittee #3, advocates and impacted Californians gathered on Feb. 6 to outline why the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is the only comprehensive and sustainable solution to the statewide crisis of unsafe, unaffordable water. Gov. Newsom’s Secretary of the Natural Resources Agency, Wade Crowfoot, was also scheduled to testify.

Among those expected to be on hand for the Wednesday hearing were Joaquin Esquivel, Member, State Water Resources Control Board; Susana De Anda, Co-Executive Director, Community Water Center; and residents from across California who are living with the health risks of contaminated drinking water.

The main idea of the session was to outline the proposal and urge legislators to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. It was to be hosted at the California State Capitol, Room 4202.

In 2012, California became the first state to establish safe and affordable drinking water as a human right. Yet officials note that one million Californians are still exposed to contaminated drinking water every year. The health risks of contaminated drinking water can include cancer, birth defects, heart disease, diabetes, and infant mortality. Approximately 300 water systems – spanning every region of the state – fail to meet safe water standards.

Gov. Newsom has made access to safe, affordable drinking water a top priority with his budget proposal and meetings with residents affected by contaminated drinking water. He has called the crisis “unbecoming of who we are and what we stand for.”

The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund is the only ongoing, sustainable source of funding to invest in new infrastructure, replace old infrastructure, provide emergency water supplies, support expensive water treatment and guarantee every Californian safe and affordable drinking water.