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New State Office Could Help Poor Valley Communities Get Clean Drinking Water

Mar 25, 2015

Credit Valley Public Radio

The emergency drought relief bill that California lawmakers will begin voting on Wednesday would create a new state office. That might sound fairly mundane. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, supporters say it could help disadvantaged communities.

Clean water advocates will tell you that it can sometimes take decades for small or poor communities to get clean drinking water. Laurel Firestone is with the Community Water Center.

Firestone: “A lot of that had to do with not being able to access the funding sources that were there either because of bureaucratic problems that mostly at this point have been fixed at the state level, or because of harder eligibility requirements.”

Getting clean drinking water can also take technical assistance that some communities simply don’t have. Jennifer Clary with Clean Water Action says poor communities need targeted help.

Clary: “If government is supposed to work on solutions, this is a way to achieve solutions.”

The proposed Office of Sustainable Water Solutions would be run by the State Water Resources Control Board.