Senator Hurtado Releases Statement on Recent State Report on California’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program

November 16, 2020

Senator Hurtado Releases Statement on Recent State Report on California’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Program


SACRAMENTO, CA – Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) issued the following statement on the recent release of the report titled "Expanding Access to Safe and Affordable Drinking Water in California—A Status Update" by the California Legislative Analyst:

"The LAO report sheds a small glimpse of light on the injustices to poor, farm-working communities in my district. The humble, hard-working men and women of the Valley risk their lives to feed the world. In return, Sacramento and Washington D.C. have disproportionately failed them with inadequate resources and broken policies that further increase their cost of water and put their health at risk. It’s well past time to eliminate bureaucratic delay and help provide these communities with clean drinking water,” said Senator Hurtado. 

Last year, Senator Hurtado secured $15 million in California’s budget to fix failing Valley water systems in rural communities. (Link to release). Senator Hurtado won the reauthorization for that funding this year. In addition, Senator Hurtado fought for, and won, $50 million in this year’s budget to help Valley farmers comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Solutions Act.

In October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senator Hurtado’s Senate Bill 974, which exempts new water projects that serve small, rural communities from some provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The exemption allows low-income communities to find relief for the expensive and exhaustive permit process to produce water wells and related projects.

Senator Hurtado also worked to stabilize Southern Central Valley water systems by authoring Senate Bill 559 to provide $400 million to make repairs to the Friant Kern Canal. The canal – which provides drinking water and water for farms – is damaged due to subsidence. The bill, which was amended in the Assembly into a measure that required a report on how much money it would take to fix the canal, was vetoed by Governor Newsom in October.  

According to this recent report, California has a water affordability issue that is especially acute in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. Many households are spending almost five percent of their household budget on buying water.

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About Senator Melissa Hurtado

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) represents the 14th Senate district in California, which includes cities in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties. Senator Hurtado was born in Fresno, California and raised in the City of Sanger.