East County News Service
March 8, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- The state of California has established a new website called the Human Right to Water Portal, in compliance with a 2012 law that makes California the first state in the U.S. to recognize a right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water for all state residents. But a review of the new website shows that many East County communities, schools and public water systems are in violation of safe, clean drinking water standards.
Water supplies for the Barrett Lake mobile home and RV park had high levels of uranium. AT the Ocotillo Oasis Mobile Home Park, water tested too high for fluoride.
Guatay’s water system had high uranium levels, as did Rancho Santa Teresa Municipal Water Company. Pauma Valley has nitrate contaminants. So does the Quiet Springs Mobile Home Park in Warner Springs and the Willowside Terrace Water Association in Alpine.
The Warner Springs Unified School District’s well tested too high for arsenic.
The new website includes info on over 3,000 water systems in the state with an interactive map showing 292 public water systems currently out of compliance with federal standards.
A new law passed in 2015, the Resilient, Affordable, Safe Drinking Water for Disadvantaged Communities Framework, allows the State Water Board to order mandatory consolidations of water systems that don’t meet safe drinking water standards. Failing public water systems that serve disadvantaged communities can obtain management services help from the state to attain compliance.
The biggest challenge is a lack of funding to help subsidize water rates for low-income residents, as well as costs for an administrator, operation and maintenance of clean drinking water systems.
On February 8th, the State Water Board hosted a workshop at which members of many communities voiced concerns about clean water affordability and accessibility, as well as options for a low-income rate assistance program they believe is needed.
Assuring safe, clean drinking water is apt to become even more difficult in the future, since Donald Trump’s executive order rolling back Clean Water Act protections on streams that provide drinking water for many Americans, including hundreds of thousands of people here in San Diego County, with additional cuts planned in laws that prevent pollution of public waterways.
Learn more by reading a press release at http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2017/pr021417_hr2w_portal.pdf
Visit the new Human Right to Water portal at http://waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/hr2w/index.shtml
Visit the database of water systems with violations at http://waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/hr2w/docs/data/hr2w_web_data_active.xlsx