The Drought Resilient Communities Act (SB 971 (Hertzberg)) was introduced in February 2020 to strengthen drought planning for small and rural communities. Join us in taking action to ensure drought planning policies benefit communities most at risk and prevent catastrophic impacts on drinking water. Visit https://www.
Missed our Feb. 12, 2020 Drinking Water Tool Webinar? Download and watch at home (.mp4 ; 160MB)
Any community member holds the power — and the responsibility — to be involved, informed, and engaged with the governance of their water. Community members who understand the role their water providers play, who attend meetings, and who vote, or encourage others to vote, are vital to building effective and accountable water governance. The opportunity for robust community representation and accountability also relies on the residents who choose to run for a water board or city council seat themselves and make their voices heard.
Public drinking water systems, or community water systems, include many kinds of providers including private companies, public districts, cities, etc. The first step to learn who is making decisions about your water is to locate your bill and find the name and phone number for your water provider. The Your Water tool found on the homepage can also help you find this information.
Cities can provide water directly or allow another entity to provide water, including private companies. If a city does provide water, it is common for a city to have a public works department to oversee the water system; however, each city can create its own structure. If your city is responsible for providing your drinking water, you can stay informed about decisions that are being made regarding your water by attending and advocating at your local city council meetings.
If you receive your water from a special district, sometimes called Community Services Districts, Public Utilities Districts, or Irrigation Districts, call the number on your water bill and ask for the time and day of the next water board meeting. Go to the water board meeting and ask questions or voice your concerns during the public comment period.
Some resources to support your engagement:
Learning more about water quality:
All public water systems are subject to the state and federal Safe Drinking Water Acts. What that means is that Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs) must be mailed out by July 1st each year for all community water systems. Consumer confidence reports include the following information:
To find a copy of your water system’s Consumer Confidence Report, contact your public water system directly (number should be on your water bill). If you do not receive a water bill, contact your local health department or department of public works, and they should be able to direct you to the public water system.
Factsheets for common drinking water contaminants:
If you are served by your own private well, or if you own a well that provides water to others, such as tenants or neighboring homes, then you are solely responsible for the quality of that water and it is important to regularly test your well to make sure that it is safe.
There are no requirements or regulations regarding testing, quality, or reporting of private wells under the state and federal Safe Drinking Water Acts with some exceptions, like before a residential property title can be sold. Resources for landlords and tenants with private domestic wells:
As climate change increases and droughts become more frequent, it will become even more important to be engaged around conversations of water supply resiliency in your community. Groundwater Sustainability Agencies are the regional agencies that are developing plans to manage groundwater and where you can learn more about supply resiliency. Here are some ways you can get connected: