California Legislators Rally Together to Tackle Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Crisis

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia and Assemblymember Richard Bloom at Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Crisis

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Water, Parks, and Wildlife Chair; Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) Environmental and Toxic Materials Committee Chair; and Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), Budget Subcommittee No. 3 on Resources and Transportation Chair convened a joint informational hearing on safe and affordable drinking water.

The hearing created a platform for legislators, stakeholders, and advocates to come together to explore potential policy solutions to this urgent matter.

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia stated, “All Californians, regardless of zip code, deserve safe and affordable drinking water. For too long, too many have gone without access to this essential resource. Proud to be collaborating with several of my colleagues in both the Senate and Assembly on potential policy solutions to this crisis. I especially commend the leadership of Senator Monning on this issue. This is a matter of public health urgency for our communities. We cannot afford to delay. Galvanized by Governor Newsom’s support, I am optimistic that we can come together to achieve an equitable, sustainable solution – one that will ensure safe and affordable drinking water for all.” 

Hearing Co-Chair Bloom added, “In 2012, California formally and legislatively recognized that water is a fundamental human right. Yet seven years later, too many Californians still live without access to safe and affordable drinking water. We need a sustainable framework to permanently solve this crisis and I am pleased that we are taking on that challenge, once again, this year. I look forward to discussing this complex policy issue and hearing from stakeholders about potential solutions and tradeoffs.” 

Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), a longtime champion of this issue, provided introductory remarks that set the stage for the policy discussion.

The Senator said, “Today’s hearing further highlights the immediate need for a sustainable solution to California’s hidden human rights crisis – the lack of access for the more than 300 communities to safe and affordable drinking water.  I look forward to working with the Governor, my Senate and Assembly colleagues, and all stakeholders as we continue discussions about how to best achieve a long-term solution to this shameful crisis.”

Representatives from water agencies across the state also lent their expertise as hearing panelists including Coachella Valley Water District, Board Vice President Cástulo R. Estrada. Director Estrada and Assemblymember Garcia both represent the rural communities of the Eastern Coachella Valley and have been working together to address the region’s deep-set infrastructure disparities.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here today to bring much-needed attention to the Disadvantage Community issues in the Coachella Valley,” shared Estrada. “We have been working for years to improve the conditions in the eastern Coachella Valley and the only way we will solve those problems is by collaborating on solutions.  The hearing today was a great step forward in the effort to work together to provide safe, reliable, affordable drinking water to those who need it.”

Assemblymember Garcia is committed to continuing discussions with his colleagues and all stakeholders such as water agencies, agricultural partners, and environmental justice advocates to identify a sustainable solution that will guarantee equitable access to this essential resource.

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Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) serves as the chairperson of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife.  He represents the 56th district, which comprises the cities and communities of Blythe, Brawley, Bermuda Dunes, Calexico, Calipatria, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Indio, Mecca, Oasis, North Shore, Salton Sea, Thermal, Thousand Palms, and Westmorland.