California Releases SAFER Drinking Water Needs Assessment Results

The California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has released the results of its first Drinking Water Needs Assessment for the Safe and Affordable for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) Program. In 2019, the SWRCB established the SAFER Program to advance the goals of the Human Right to Water Resolution bill passed by the Senate in 2016. The Needs Assessment provides information and recommendations to guide the work of the SAFER program using regulatory, funding, and public engagement strategies to help struggling water systems sustainably and affordably provide safe drinking water. It is comprised of Risk Assessment, Cost Assessment, and Affordability Assessment components that collectively:

  1. Identifies California tribal and small water systems and domestic wells that are failing or at risk of failing to provide access to safe drinking water;
  2. Projects the cost of interim and long-term solutions for these systems; and
  3. Determines the statewide funding gap and affordability challenges that may be barriers to implementing these solutions.

The Needs Assessment will be completed annually and will inform the annual Fund Expenditure Plan to prioritize available state funding and technical assistance for projects, and provide information on past and planned expenditures. For more information and to read the report, visit the SAFER website.