On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom placed an executive order restricting water shutoffs retroactively from March 4th. That’s good news, community advocates say, but it doesn’t help those whose water was already shut off.
Jonathan Nelson is the Policy Director for the Community Water Center. He says Newsom’s order will help people who are worried about paying future bills. But what about those whose water has been shut off for over a month?
“How can you wash your hands? How can you shelter-in-place if you don't have access to water because your water has been cut off?” Nelson asks.
He doesn’t have exact numbers but last year, 200,000 people had their water cut off in California. And it’s not just running water that’s a problem, he says. People are struggling even more to find safe drinking water.
“We are seeing rural communities being unable to find bottled water. They may not have an Albertsons or Whole Foods. They may rely on a smaller grocery store, even a corner market and there's no bottled water,” Nelson said.
That’s why the Community Water Center and other water advocacy organizations are calling for relief programs for those without access to clean drinking water.