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NEWS: Right to water bills to be introduced in California, Feb. 28

Debbie Davis

The Environmental Justice Coalition for Water states that, “Legislators, safe water advocates, and residents of California communities without access to safe drinking water will gather for a press conference this Monday, February 28, at 2 pm on the North Steps of State Capitol to announce the introduction of the Human Right to Water bill package. Speakers will include Assembly Member Mike Eng, Assembly Member Paul Fong, Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, United Nations Independent Expert on the Human Right to Water, Catarina de Albuquerque, community advocates, and affected community members.”

A previous Human Right to Water bill passed the California legislature in May 2009, but was later vetoed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. More on that in this campaign blog at http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=779. There is now a renewed hope that a human right to water bill can be passed given that Democrat Jerry Brown became the Governor of California this past January.

Debbie Davis, policy director of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, says, “The six-bill package includes AB 685 (Eng), which would make it a policy of the state that every Californian has a human right to clean, accessible water for basic human needs. The five additional bills make changes in state law to begin implementing the human right to water policy and promote access to safe water for the health and well-being of all Californians.”

“The Human Right to Water Bill Package includes the following bills: AB 685 (Eng) Human Right to Water; AB 938 (V.M. Perez) Language Access on Public Health Notifications; AB 983 (Perea) Access to Clean Up and Abatement Funding; AB 1187 (Fong) Drinking Water Plan; AB 1221 (Alejo) Drinking Water SRF; and SB 244 (Wolk) General Plans.”

“More than 11.5 million Californians rely on water from suppliers that experienced at least one violation of State Drinking Water Standards as reported to the Department of Public Health in 2004, according to Davis. As many as 8.5 million Californians rely on supplies that experienced more than five instances of unsafe levels in a single year.”

More at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/02/25/18673021.php.