drinking water

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the third installment in our series Contaminated, in which we explore the 300 California communities that lack access to clean drinking water. When we began the series, we introduced you to the community of Lanare, which has arsenic-tainted water while a treatment plant in the center of town sits idle. 

Today, we return to Lanare to learn why infrastructure projects aren’t always enough, and how Sacramento is trying to ensure Lanare never happens again.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In late April, we launched a series called “Contaminated” where our team explores communities in the region affected by water unsafe to drink. In our first story, we visited a Fresno County community that can’t afford to maintain the arsenic treatment plant the federal government funded 10 years ago. 

We continue today with a look at a Madera County mountain community where residents have been exposed to a different hazardous material in water for decades—but they could have clean water by the end of the year.

The Kern County city of Arvin has received funding to drill a new drinking water well to serve its nearly 21,000 residents.

The EPA has agreed to provide the city with $2.5 million in funding for the well, which will replace an existing well that's polluted with arsenic and is located adjacent to a Superfund site. That site is home to extensive soil contamination from herbicides and pesticides left behind by an agricultural chemical company that operated there in the mid-twentieth century.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In 2012, California made history when it became the first U.S. state to declare that clean drinking water is a human right. But five years later, nearly 300 communities still can’t drink their water, according to new state data—many of which are in the San Joaquin Valley.

Today we debut a series about drinking water, in which we explore where these communities are and why it’s so difficult to get clean water. We begin in rural Fresno County north of Lemoore.

Fresno State Facebook page

There’s a new set of public opinion polls out on the views of San Joaquin Valley residents on a variety of issues, from the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act to water and immigration.

State Water Resources Control Board

The state has released new data on California’s drinking water--and they reveal almost 300 public water systems are out of compliance with state standards.

The data and an interactive map are part of the state water board’s new Human Right to Water Portal. They reveal 292 non-compliant water systems across the state. Violations include unsafe levels of arsenic, nitrates, and other contaminants, as well as non-compliant treatment techniques. 

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

The Fresno city council on Thursday approved a plan that could be the first step in clearing a harmful chemical out of the city’s drinking water.

The plan will authorize a feasibility analysis on removing the chemical 1,2,3-TCP from city water. 1,2,3-TCP is a known carcinogen that was used decades ago as an industrial solvent and pesticide additive. It’s been detected in 45 of the city’s 270 wells.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A report released this week argues the consequences of the drought have been more pronounced in some communities than others.

The analysis from the Pacific Institute and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water says water shortages, hikes in water rates and fishery declines have been concentrated in low-income and disadvantaged communities. Additionally, Laura Feinstein with the Pacific Institute says those effects extend beyond the central valley, even to typically wet areas on the North Coast and Central Coast.

Governor Brown’s latest budget proposal has some new language related to clean drinking water.

 

The proposal acknowledges that many of California’s disadvantaged communities rely on contaminated groundwater and lack the resources to operate and maintain safe drinking water systems, but it stops short of any additional funding to fix the problem.

Jonathan Nelson with the advocacy group Community Water Center says this acknowledgement may seem modest now, but it could lead to bigger things.

Valley Public Radio

The rural Kings County community of Kettleman City, long plagued by unsafe drinking water, now has a clear path toward a clean water supply.

The State Water Resources Control Board today approved the construction of a water treatment plant to serve Kettleman City. The unincorporated community’s water supply contains unsafe levels of arsenic. Maricela Mares-Alatorre is a Kettleman City resident and activist, and she says residents are ready.

A new study aims to quantify the social costs of nitrogen fertilizer. San Joaquin Valley residents are likely familiar with nitrates that seep out of agricultural fields and into the water supply. But nitrogen also makes its way into the air and the environment, impacting human health, ecosystems, and the climate. And all those exact costs on society.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought state of emergency as wells across the state began to run dry. This just two years after California became the first state to legally recognize water as a human right. And yet, thousands of residents remain without water, as the state estimates 2,000 wells have run dry. While temporary relief has come to many, permanent relief has still been slow to arrive. Last Friday, a solution finally came to one of Tulare County’s hardest hit communities—but it wasn’t easy, and it’s not the end.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Four years into the drought, an estimated 1,500 wells have run dry in Tulare County. Now, thanks to a state-funded project, relief is finally coming to one of the county’s hardest hit communities.

Community Water Center

When we talk about water in the San Joaquin Valley, it’s often to highlight water problems, like dry wells, contaminated drinking water or, more recently, toxic algae in lakes and reservoirs. But the news isn’t all bad: local advocate Susana De Anda recently received an award from the White House for her work bringing clean water to San Joaquin Valley communities.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A report released today highlights how widespread unsafe drinking water is in California—particularly in schools. 

Between 2003 and 2014, over 900 schools in the state may have provided water that was contaminated with arsenic or bacteria. That’s according to the Community Water Center, a non-profit advocacy group based in Sacramento. The report combined publicly available data on water quality violations with the number of schools served by those systems.

Pages