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.
June of last year proved to be prime time for harmful algal blooms, resulting in major human health, environmental, and economic problems across the country. Despite the historically colder and wetter conditions we’ve experienced so far in 2019, harmful algal blooms are not out of the question if summer conditions prove conducive to cyanobacteria growth.
Lead testing was in the mainstream news yet again this month after a report gave California a “C+” for its policies to protect children from lead in drinking water at school. In fairness to California, it was one of the only states to receive a “passing” grade, as 22 of the 32 states analyzed received an “F” letter grade. If you’re a parent like me, however, you probably feel like a C+ report card is hardly worth celebrating.
But what exactly did the report base its assessment on?
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.