The next fight in California’s water crisis is over salt, pollutants

The Fresno Bee –

When it comes to drinking water in California — safety, supply and reliability — we can never rest. None of us. For those who think it’s a crisis that only impacts rural communities in our state, you are wrong. Children in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego and other urban communities are drinking lead-contaminated water from their drinking fountains, and nearly all of California’s 58 counties include communities with tainted water.

The lack of access to safe drinking water is a statewide problem, not solely a San Joaquin Valley issue. And while it is California’s crisis, it impacts the Valley’s low-income families and communities of color disproportionately. They bear the brunt of this medical emergency that is caused in large part by pollution from industrial dairies and agriculture.

Our organizations, Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability and NextGen California, along with more than 140 other groups, hundreds of residents and other stakeholders, worked tirelessly for years to pass the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed SB 200 this summer, providing about $1.4 billion over the next decade to help secure safe drinking water in communities and schools throughout the state.