This month Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill to establish the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, which aims to improve access to safe drinking water for residents in disadvantaged communities. Approximately 1 million Californians currently lack access to safe drinking water, the vast majority of whom live in small rural communities that rely on private drinking water wells or poorly maintained water systems contaminated by harmful constituents such as arsenic, nitrates, and 1,2,3-TCP.
It is impossible to overstate the tragedy of the Camp and Woolsey fires. The road to recovery will be a long, expensive, and painful one and, unfortunately, rebuilding is only the first of many costs. In addition to the obvious aftermath of a wildfire, there is a subtle yet salient issue these communities will now face: tainted water quality.