Forty-nine years ago this week, Congress passed the federal Clean Water Act, with the goal of restoring America’s waters. Yet today, 95% of California’s rivers, lakes, bays and wetlands are plagued by pesticides, metals, pathogens, trash and sediment, making it unsafe to swim, fish or drink. As we approach the 50th anniversary of this landmark environmental legislation, it is time for the state to get on track toward ensuring swimmable, fishable and drinkable waters for all Californians.
Underserved communities of color shoulder far too much of the cost of unsafe water. But the state has increasingly treated these communities as water quality “sacrifice zones.”