Drinking Water Is A Human Right, But These Valley Residents Don’t Have It
Drinking Water Is A Human Right, But These Valley Residents Don’t Have It.
In 2012, California made history when it became the first U.S. state to declare that clean drinking water is a human right.
But five years later, nearly 300 communities still can’t drink their water, according to new state data—many of which are in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Here is the project where they make the water treatment plant,” says Lanare resident Isabel Solorio, pointing to a concrete cylinder in the middle of town.
“Not only did their bills go up and they can’t drink the water, they also now have to pay off a debt of an arsenic treatment plant that sits in their community,” she says.
Around 400,000 Californians are impacted—and more than half of those live here in the San Joaquin Valley.
In Kings County, for example, 40% of residents have unsafe drinking water—that’s almost half its population.These numbers come from a new website the state water board launched earlier this year called the Human Right to Water portal.
There, you can find data about every public water system in the state and all violations from the past five years.
When the state begins regulating that chemical later this year, estimates of impacted residents throughout the state could skyrocket.
Still, in places like Lanare that are in that 1 percent, the problem may seem insurmountable.