Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Human Right to Water Affirmed in California

Congratulations, staff of the Community Water Center! You have worked long and hard to win yesterday's victory, when California Governor Brown signed the Human Right to Water Bill, AB 685 (see AB 685 with recent markups), introducing into the Water Code this language:

"It is hereby declared to be the established policy of the state that every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes."

This could be an important leverage point for rural and unincorporated communities as California warms and becomes more arid.

Before now domestic use of water was prioritized in California water policy; however, that included all domestic use, including watering lawns and filling swimming pools.

In 2011 Governor Brown signed other legislation recommended as part of a Human Right to Water Bill Package:

  • AB 983, the Access to Safe Drinking Water Act, to better serve communities lacking safe, affordable water;
  • AB 938, about public water systems;
  • AB 1221, about the State Water Quality Control Fund and the State Water Pollution Cleanup and Abatement Account; 
  • SB 244, about local government, land use, general plans, and disadvantaged unincorporated communities

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