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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Governor Newsom released the revised California State Budget for 2024-2025 as the State prepares for clawbacks, hiring freezes, and deficits in back-to-back years. Critically, the May Revise maintains $200 million in State drinking water and wastewater spending, that funding was originally appropriated 3 years ago and is already spoken for, preventing communities from losing access to water and wastewater. Unfortunately, funding for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure has dried up, leaving a critical gap and delaying progress on shovel-ready projects across the state.

“Safe drinking water doesn’t take time off for budget cuts,” says Jennifer Clary, California Director for Clean Water Action. “Hundreds of small systems are waiting for infrastructure dollars so they can provide safe drinking water to their customers.”

California has a drinking water crisis where nearly one million people across the state are exposed to illegal levels of harmful contaminants in their tap water. According to the 2023 Drinking Water Needs Assessment, over $10 billion is needed to address the barriers to safe and affordable drinking water statewide. The more legislators wait to invest in water, the higher the cost will be. As we look towards what funding we have available, it is important we protect and extend sources like Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER), which provides critical funding for interim water supplies and technical assistance to small systems that lack the capacity to plan their own solutions.

“Federal funding helps, but unfortunately it isn’t enough because of congressional earmarks. What we need is sustained funding for drinking water infrastructure, from both the State and Federal governments,” says Kyle Jones, Policy & Legal Director for Community Water Center. “A climate bond is a good next step in making sure communities don’t stall in the progress of safe drinking water projects.”

The State needs more funding to tackle pressing issues like drinking water infrastructure, wastewater projects, affordability, and testing for contaminants like PFAS. We need urgent solutions as soon as possible and can’t allow the state to backtrack on funding commitments to ensure safe drinking water without providing another pathway forward. Governor Newsom previously identified a climate bond as a potential solution to staving off cuts. We urge the Governor to champion at least $1 billion for safe drinking water and wastewater in a climate bond, alongside other investments for climate resiliency.

While vital funding for water and wastewater infrastructure is still lacking, we were encouraged to see funding set aside for new positions to help effectively implement legislation passed in 2023. The proposal to fund new positions to implement SB 3 (Dodd, 2023) and AB 664 (Lee, 2023) to provide water shutoff protections to more Californians will help ensure that renters benefit from water consolidation projects.

“We are encouraged by the Governor’s proposal to fund implementation of legislation intended to maintain access to safe and affordable drinking water,” says Michael Claiborne, Directing Attorney at Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. “Even as we implement SB 3 and AB 664, we look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to make water more affordable for low-income Californians.”

To make good on the promise of the Human Right to Water, California must fund safe drinking water and wastewater projects. We cannot lose progress on solutions and will continue to work with the Governor and Legislature to advocate for much needed solutions.


Clean Water Action - Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table.

Our Mission is to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, and campaigns to elect environmental candidates and to solve environmental and community problems.
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Community Water Center (CWC) works to ensure that all communities have reliable access to safe, clean, and affordable water. Founded in 2006, CWC is a not-for-profit environmental justice organization, whose mission is to act as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through education, organizing, and advocacy.
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Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability works alongside the most impacted communities in the San Joaquin Valley and Eastern Coachella Valley to advocate for sound policy and eradicate injustice to secure equal access to opportunity regardless of wealth, race, income, and place. Leadership Counsel focuses on issues like housing, land use, transportation, safe and affordable drinking water and climate change impacts on communities.
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