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Update on California’s Needs Assessment and Drinking Water Fund

November 13, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

This week, California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office published a report summarizing the progress and remaining needs of California’s $130 million Safe and Affordable Drinking Water (SADW) Fund and the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience (SAFER) program. Both initiatives were established to work together to address the more than one million Californians who currently Financial Assistance Programs - Grants and Loans | California State Water Quality Control Boardlack access to safe drinking water, primarily because they receive water from systems and domestic wells that do not consistently meet those established standards. The programs are also aiming to address affordability issues in the states, as some residents pay in excess of 5 percent of their income on their water bills, more than double the affordability threshold of 2.5% MHI used by EPA. California’s small systems struggle the most and drinking water problems disproportionately affect Latino, rural, and lower‑income communities in the state. The SAFER program is performing a comprehensive statewide needs assessment, expected to be completed by June 2021 and planned expenditures from the SADW Fund in 2020‑21 include construction ($49 million), technical assistance ($30 million), and emergency water supplies and interim solutions ($19 million).

California Water Boards Announce $130M Funding Plan for Drinking Water

July 8, 2020      Drinking Water Headlines     

Yesterday (July 7th), the California State Water Resources Control Board announced a 10-year commitment to provide vulnerable California communities safe and affordable drinking water through the approved 2020-21 Fund Expenditure Plan that prioritizes up to $130 million to numerous projects over the next 12 months.

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.

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 administered. For more information click here.

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