California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Bill Creating Safe Drinking Water Fund

In his first week in office, Governor Newsom proposed providing permanent funding for safe drinking water projects to help more than 1 million Californians without access to clean drinking water

SB 200 establishes a stable ongoing fund to help communities access safe drinking water

SANGER, CA (STL.News) – California Governor Gavin Newsom today signed SB 200 by Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), which establishes the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to help local water systems provide safe drinking water.

In his first week in office, Governor Newsom proposed creating a permanent fund source for safe and clean drinking water projects.  More than 1 million Californians lack access to clean drinking water at home, work or school, which negatively impacts their everyday life.

“The fact that more than a million Californians can’t rely on clean water to drink or bathe in is a moral disgrace,” said Governor Newsom.  “Parents shouldn’t have to worry about their kids drinking from the water fountain at school, and families shouldn’t have to dump water over their heads to shower every day.  This funding is critically important to addressing California’s long-standing safe drinking water issues, and I would like to thank the Legislature for working collaboratively to pass this solution.”

In June, Governor Newsom signed the 2019-20 state budget, which provides $130 million to begin implementation of a Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program.  SB 200 makes that money available for safe drinking water projects.  SB 200 also requires the State Water Resources Control Board to develop a fund expenditure plan to identify failing water systems, as well as solutions to provide safe and affordable drinking water.

Governor Newsom today visited a small community neighborhood near Sanger, which struggles with safe drinking water issues.  He spoke with families and members of the community that currently lack access to safe drinking water.  Many of these families receive five 8-gallon jugs of water every two weeks through a grant program, which they use for drinking and cooking.  When they run out, they risk using the water from their sink.

Additionally, SB 200 advances California’s climate resiliency goals by helping to secure water resources statewide.  Climate change adversely affects water availability and can affect drinking water quality.  Rising temperatures can affect precipitation amounts and result in less reliable water supplies, which increase the need to use water supplies that contain contaminants and require treatment to meet drinking water standards.  Disadvantaged communities are most impacted by climate change.

In February, Governor Newsom took several actions to bring safe drinking water to all Californians, including appropriating $10 million for emergency drinking water projects and $10 million to help bring local water districts into compliance with drinking water standards.  He also directed drinking water funding for schools from the fiscal year 2018-19 budget to be given as grants to public agencies, public water systems or non-profit organizations to help with water management; and re-appropriated the balance of 2016 drinking water funds for schools.

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