Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

SB623

Community Water Center

California’s legislative session ended last week, and with it, the hopes for a statewide pool of money that would have supported drinking water projects.

It was called the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and it would have been available for disadvantaged communities in need of water cleanup projects. The fund would have been sourced by fees on residential water bills and on some agricultural producers.

But the two bills that set the framework for the fund died in the state assembly last week as California’s legislative deadline passed by.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In our 2017 series Contaminated, we told the stories of communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley struggling to access safe drinking water. Since then, the state has begun regulating a new drinking water contaminant. And though that regulation represents increased accountability, it brings financial challenges to some communities—and many are turning to the courts to help pay for water treatment. We begin this story in Del Rey, an unincorporated community in central Fresno County.

Community Water Center

More than 300 California communities lack access to clean drinking water. A disproportionately high number of those communities lie in the San Joaquin Valley, as we reported in our 2017 series Contaminated. Last fall, a bill with a proposed solution passed the state senate but has since remained in limbo, receiving both broad support and opposition—even in the San Joaquin Valley.

Community Water Center

A hearing in Sacramento earlier this week revealed local support and opposition to a drinking water bill making its way through the state legislature.

More than 300 public water systems in California are currently out of compliance with state code, mostly due to contamination from substances like arsenic and nitrate. Senate Bill 623 would establish a fund to help those communities pay for water treatment projects.

Tom Steyer Facebook

Tom Steyer may be one of the most influential Californians you’ve never heard of. But that may change. Speculation about a potential run for Governor, the U.S. Senate or even the Presidency has thrust his name into the headlines. But the Democrat and environmental activist is not a stranger to politics.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

California farmers and environmental justice leaders are joining forces to support a bill that would help fund a clean drinking water program.