The California State Water Resources Control Board announced the completion of its first-ever comprehensive look at California water systems.
The California State Water Resources Control Board announced the completion of its first-ever comprehensive look at California water systems that are struggling to provide safe drinking water.
According to the California SWRCB the assessment identifies both failing water systems and those at risk of failing. The study is part of the state’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Program.
This assessment follows California’s adoption of the first Human Right to Water policy in the nation.
The needs assessment covers three main areas including: identifying California small water systems and domestic wells that are failing or at risk of failing to provide access to safe drinking water; estimating the cost of interim and long-term solutions for these systems; and determining the statewide funding gap and affordability challenges that may be barriers.
The Water Board estimates another $4.6 billion in drinking water grants and loans will be needed to help water systems, according to the California SWRCB press release.
“While systems not currently meeting drinking water standards are our top priority, we know out-of-compliance systems exist that are just one drought or pump failure or contaminant detection away from serving unsafe water,” said Board Chair E. Joaquin Esquivel in the California SWRCB press release. “In collaboration with federal, local and tribal government partners, as well as the private sector, this assessment will help develop solutions that ensure universal access to clean and safe drinking water in California.”
The risk assessment was developed in partnership with University of California, Los Angeles and with the assistance of stakeholder input.
Of the 7,800 public water systems in California, there are approximately 345 systems on the Human Right to Water List, which means they do not meet safe drinking water standards.
92% of those systems are working toward long-term solutions and 40% are looking at the feasibility of consolidating with other nearby water systems, according to the California SWRCB press release.