Backers Of Safe And Affordable Drinking Water Fund Applaud Commitment By Governor And Legislature To Move Forward To Address State Crisis

Saturday, June 9, 2018


SACRAMENTO -- Supporters of a statewide Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund today applauded the commitment by Governor Jerry Brown, Legislative leadership and a bipartisan group of legislators to continue to craft a solution to the state’s drinking water crisis.

The Legislature did not take further action on the Fund as part of this year’s budget bill but signaled that they will continue work on the Fund through the summer. Noted the Governor’s Department of Finance spokesperson H.D. Palmer: “The Legislature has indicated a commitment to continue discussions this summer. They recognize that this is a very important issue that will take some more time to work through.”

The budget does specifically set aside $23.5 million General Fund for allocation to “safe drinking water actions later in this legislative session.”

Senator Monning, the Senate Majority Leader and author of the original bill proposing the Fund, SB 623, made the following statement:

“I appreciate the commitment of the Governor and my Senate and Assembly colleagues to work toward a comprehensive drinking water solution in coming weeks. I am proud of the work we have done to develop the bipartisan Safe & Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which will permanently solve California's drinking water crisis. Californians deserve…and should expect… for us to lead on this vital human rights issue and not ignore a tragedy that impacts more than a million people. I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and the Legislature to get this issue resolved once and for all.”

Laurel Firestone of Community Water Center issued the following statement on today’s actions on behalf of the 140 environmental justice, agricultural, public health, business, labor, and water districts supporting the Fund:

"While we are disappointed that California’s drinking water crisis has been prolonged for so long, we are pleased that the Governor, legislative leadership, and a bipartisan majority of the Legislature remains strongly committed to the Safe & Affordable Drinking Water Fund and we appreciate the commitment to take action later in the Legislative Session. Nearly three-quarters of California voters are supportive of legislative action to address this issue now. We are confident the Governor and Legislature will not walk away from creating a permanent source of funding to ensure that all Californians have clean water, both now and for future generations. This problem is not going away and will only grow worse with further inaction."

Veronica Garibay of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability added that communities throughout the state mustn’t have to wait any longer for clean drinking water. “The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund developed as a result of years of advocacy, years of lugging bottled water home, years of dirty tap water running into homes and schools. Dirty tap water cannot continue to be the reality for a million Californians; we expect a vote in favor of safe drinking water this summer.”

Ag Council President Emily Rooney said, “We are wholeheartedly committed to solving this crucial drinking water issue this year. We remain dedicated, along Governor Brown and over 140 other groups and community partners, to solving this ongoing problem for low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout the state. As the Sac Bee Editorial Board said on June 4, 'This is 21st century California. There is simply no excuse for water that isn’t safe.’"

“We have a strong bipartisan coalition committed to the creation of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund,” said Jennifer Clary of Clean Water Action. “We’re confident that our historic alliance will lead to a successful outcome.”

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Michael Kelly