Cleaning up California’s water

Gov. Jerry Brown signs seven bills intended to clean up water

On Oct. 7, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a whopping seven bills aimed at improving and protecting the quality of drinking water in California, particularly in poor, disadvantaged communities.

The bills address logistical and cultural hurdles in bringing clean water to poor neighborhoods, according to media sources. For instance, AB 938 requires drinking-water alerts be translated when at least 10 percent of district customers speak a language other than English. AB 983 will provide 100 percent grant funding for poor communities investing in water-infrastructure improvements. AB 54 intends to streamline construction-project timelines for ailing water systems, allowing agencies to begin work as soon as an application for funding has been approved.

The bills are a long time coming for many Californians. A study conducted between 2005 and 2008 by the Pacific Institute found 1.3 million residents in the San Joaquin Valley were regularly exposed to nitrate-polluted water in their homes.