CA Legislators Announce Bills to Establish Human Right to Water

Last week, the Capitol steps were flooded with legislators, safe water advocates, faith-based community members, and concerned residents, rallied together to announce a recently introduced package of bills. The bills are designed to ensure every Californian has the right to turn of their faucet and not be afraid that the water that comes out it will make them sick or that they can not afford the water.

Many are surprised when they hear more than 250,000 Californians in the Central Valley alone lack safe water for drinking, bathing, and other household needs, while many others see their water service disconnected when they cannot afford to pay their water bills. The package of bills announced on Monday will establish the right of every person to have access to clean, affordable water for basic human needs.

The Human Right to Water Bill Package includes the following bills:

AB 685 (Eng) Human Right to Water – This bill would make the human right to water a policy of the state, and five additional bills that implement the policy and promote access to safe water for the health and wellbeing of all Californians.

AB 938 (V.M. Perez) Language Access on Public Health Notifications – This bill would require the public water system provide a written and non written public notice in English, Spanish, and in the language spoken by prescribed numbers of residents of the community served, in the event the public water system does not meet safe water drinking requirements.

AB 983 (Perea) Access to Clean Up and Abatement Funding – This bill will provide clarity to existing legislation in regards to the Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, This fund continuously appropriates grants and revolving fund loans to provide for the design and construction of projects for public water systems that will enable suppliers to meet safe drinking water standards.

AB 1187 (Fong) Drinking Water Plan – In response to the changing needs of the State’s agricultural, urban and environmental water uses, this bill would require the California Water Plan to include a “Safe Drinking Water Plan.”

AB 1221 (Alejo) Drinking Water SRF – This bill would help with infrastructural projects that deliver safe drinking water and allow for responsible waste water management in rural and disadvantaged communities throughout the state.

SB 244 (Wolk) General Plans – This bill would require, upon each revision of its housing element, a city or county to review and update one or more elements of its general plan, to address pocket areas not incorporated into service areas. The bill works to ensure that these neglected unincorporated communities, are provided with the basic necessities for a safe and healthy living environment.