New Report on San Joaquin Valley Water Reveals Opportunities to Serve on Local Water Boards

The Community Water Center (CWC)/El Centro Comunitario por el Agua just released a new report: "Untapped Opportunity: Local Water Boards and the Fight for Water Justice."
 
The report found that in the southern San Joaquin Valley, fully 87 percent of local water board seats were uncontested in the most recent election—that’s almost 500 local seats. When only one candidate runs for a seat, the seat does not appear on a ballot, and the election does not take place. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, 75 of 109 local water boards studied have not held a single election in the last four years.
 
Hundreds of thousands of residents in California’s unincorporated communities are served by local water boards responsible for ensuring that the community receives safe and affordable drinking water. These local water boards are key to implementing the Human Right to Water and ensuring safe, affordable drinking water for all, but CWC’s new research shows that, all too often, these water board seats—so foundational to local democracy—go uncontested.
 
This research comes with anticipation of forthcoming work from the California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP), which finds that fewer than 15 percent of local water board directors in the southern San Joaquin Valley are Latino. Of 242 non-drinking water board members studied, none are Latina.
 
With this first-of-its-kind research, we're kicking off efforts to share information about local water boards. These boards hold the power to secure safe, affordable, and reliable water for their communities, and to form the foundation of representative and accountable democracy in California.
 
Please check out the report and fact sheet to learn how you can take action.
 
For more information, email Adriana Renteria at adriana.renteria@communitywatercenter.org or call CWC’s Sacramento office at (916) 706-3346. 
 
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This article was submitted by Susana De Anda and Laurel Firestone, co-executive directors of The Community Water Center/El Centro Comunitario por el Agua, which acts as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California’s San Joaquin Valley.
 

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