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Millions of People Are Running Out of Water – How Desalination Plants Are Trying To Fix That

Today, one out of three people don’t have access to safe drinking water. One reason is that 96.5% of that water is found in our oceans. It’s saturated with salt, and undrinkable. Most of the freshwater is locked away in glaciers or deep underground. Less than 1% of it is available to us. Desalination is an important tool in the fight against water scarcity. Its reliability is becoming critical.

California Legislature Passes Safe Drinking Water Fund

The state Assembly and Senate passed legislation to provide $130 million to provide safe drinking water for Californians lacking access to healthy water.

The state Senate approved the bill 38-1 Monday. The Assembly passed the bill 68-0 on July 5.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

Safe Drinking Water Fund Passes California Legislature

California Legislature Passes Safe Drinking Water Fund

The state Assembly and Senate passed legislation to provide $130 million to provide safe drinking water for Californians lacking access to healthy water.

The state Senate approved the bill 38-1 Monday. The Assembly passed the bill 68-0 on July 5.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

No water tax

Newsom and others in the Legislature had proposed a tax on residential water bills to pay for projects to provide safe drinking water for residents that don’t have access to it. Water industry groups, including the San Diego County Water Authority, were among the broad coalition of water, business and civic interests that opposed the tax.

“Thanks to the efforts of Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and her staff, Californians will not face a drinking water tax,” said Glenn Farrel, government relations manager for the Water Authority. “Her leadership was vital to securing the funding needed to provide safe drinking water for the communities in California where unhealthy water is a problem.”

Historic funding solution

Funding to clean up contaminated water will instead come from California’s cap-and-trade program.

SB 200, which creates the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, is the second part of an historic funding solution for disadvantaged communities in the state that do not have access to safe drinking water.

The first part is in the state’s 2019-’20 budget, which Governor Newsom signed on June 27. The budget allocates $100 million from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) and $30 million from the General Fund for the current fiscal year. SB 200 provides $130 million per year from the GGRF for safe drinking water for future years until 2030.

Safe drinking water

The funding is intended to assist communities in paying for the costs of obtaining access to safe and affordable drinking water, including treated contaminated water.  Many of those residents live in the San Joaquin Valley and rural areas of the state.

Smaller water districts will also be able to tap the funds to help with their operating costs, and possibly merge with other small districts.

The California State Water Resources Control Board has identified 329 water systems statewide that serve contaminated drinking water or cannot provide reliable water service due to unsound infrastructure or lack of resources. Most of the systems are in rural areas and serve fewer than 10,000 people.

A proposed tax on California’s drinking water in 2018 was also scraped by then Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders.

Why This Bay Area Senator Was the Sole No Vote on Newsom’s Clean Water Plan

Bob Wieckowski stands alone. He was the only state senator to vote against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan to clean up dirty drinking water in the California’s poorest communities, which passed the Senate in a 38-1 vote on Monday.

Safe Water Fund Plan Advances To California Legislators

More than 1 million Californians don’t have access to safe drinking water, and after haggling throughout the weekend, California legislators approved a plan June 9 that would help fund work at contaminated water supplies across the state without imposing a tax. The state Conference Committee on the Budget unanimously approved a compromise plan that would allocate $133.4 million of the state’s proposed $213 billion budget for project costs in communities currently unable to use their water for cooking, bathing,

Water Authority Seeks Statewide Solution To Drinking Water Woes

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on March 28 threw its support behind a coordinated statewide approach to ensure that all communities in California have daily access to safe, reliable drinking water. The California State Water Resources Control Board has identified 329 water systems statewide that serve contaminated drinking water or cannot provide reliable water service due to unsound infrastructure or lack of resources. Most of the systems are in rural areas and serve fewer than 10,000 people.