State Water Board Launches 10-Year Effort to Improve Access to Healthy Drinking Water

Jul 7, 2020 at 10:05pm

CA Water Boards, by Blair Robertson

SACRAMENTO – Moving ahead with an ambitious 10-year commitment to bring vulnerable
Californian communities access to safe and affordable drinking water, the State Water
Resources Control Board approved today the 2020-21 Fund Expenditure Plan that prioritizes
up to $130 million to numerous projects over the next 12 months.
The Board action will allow the SAFER (Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and
Resilience) Program to undertake several initiatives to ensure safe and reliable drinking water
across the state. These funds will address community and school water systems that are out of
compliance with health standards, assist disadvantaged communities throughout the state that
lack access to safe drinking water, tackle contaminated private wells and state small water
systems, and accelerate consolidations for water systems that are at-risk of failing to provide
safe drinking water and out of compliance for contaminants and other water quality issues.
“Ensuring all Californians have access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water is a
generational challenge,” said E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Board. “This first
year's adoption of the fund's annual expenditure plan is a key milestone, with much work
ahead. We're fortunate for the continued collaboration and opportunity to bring these longneeded resources to communities and water systems struggling to provide safe drinking water
in California.”
Within days of taking office last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a vision to ensure all
Californians have access to safe, clean and affordable water and pledged to remedy
longstanding access issues over the coming decade. The State Water Board is charged with
implementing that vision and shepherding it from start to finish.
Assisted by the 19-member SAFER Advisory Group composed of stakeholders and community
members, the State Water Board is preparing a comprehensive needs analysis and
establishing project priorities. The Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund was established
as part of Senate Bill 200, signed into law in July 2019. The fund provides up to $130 million
per year to assist struggling water systems sustainably and affordably provide safe drinking
water to their customers. On May 5, the Board adopted a Policy that guides how this fund is

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