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Bill To Move Drinking Water Program Has Governor's Support

Aug 9, 2013

Legislation by Fresno Democrat Henry T. Perea that supporters say will help California communities gain access to clean drinking water now has the support of Governor Jerry Brown’s administration. It goes before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday. (file photo)
Credit The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A California Senate Committee will hear a bill Monday that would move the state’s Safe Drinking Water program away from the Department of Public Health. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the department has come under fire for failing to distribute money to communities that need it.

The Department of Public Health has been criticized by both the EPA and some lawmakers for failing to distribute nearly a half billion dollars to communities for clean drinking water.

Supporters of the bill say people who need clean water would be better served if the State Water Resources Control Board ran the program. But opponents say the water board lacks a public health focus, and moving the program would cause further problems. Democratic Assemblymember Henry Perea, the bill’s author, says he’s working with Governor Jerry Brown’s administration to address those concerns.

“Really what we’re doing is creating greater accountability in shifting all of our water quality programs under one roof so that instead of having our water quality programs siloed now everybody will be talking to each other. And we think that will create greater accountability and greater efficiency within the overall system,” says Perea.

The legislation now has the administration’s support. The bill has already passed the Assembly.