State Marks 100+ Water System Consolidations, Providing Safe Drinking Water for 90,000 Californians

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: California has facilitated more than 100 water system consolidations since 2019, providing safe drinking water to 90,000 people in communities across the state. During his first year in office, Governor Newsom signed legislation establishing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, and the state has provided $620 million in grants for drinking water projects in disadvantaged communities since 2019.

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom today highlighted the state’s progress to deliver safe drinking water to communities across the state – since 2019, more than 100 water system consolidations facilitated by the state have secured reliable access to safe drinking water for 90,000 people.

During his first week in office, Governor Newsom proposed creating a permanent funding source for safe and clean drinking water projects and signed legislation later that year establishing the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund to support local water systems with safe drinking water projects. Since the Governor took office, the State Water Board has used a variety of tools, including consolidation, to improve access to safe drinking water for close to 2 million Californians.

“There’s nothing more fundamental than ensuring our communities have access to clean drinking water, and I’m incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made from day one of my Administration on this long-standing challenge,” said Governor Newsom. “Close to 2 million Californians have benefitted from improved access to safe drinking water since 2019, a testament to our ongoing commitment to supporting communities in every corner of our state.”

As part of the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, the Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program (SAFER) has provided $620 million in grants for drinking water projects, including water system consolidations, since it was created in 2019. The SAFER program focuses on consolidating small, at-risk or failing water systems—which are 20% more likely to serve disadvantaged communities and communities of color—into larger, higher capacity systems.

Today at Riverside County’s Westside Elementary, one of many places across the state that have benefited from consolidation, leaders from the State Water Board joined representatives from U.S. EPA Region 9 and local officials to celebrate the consolidations milestone. Before its consolidation into the Coachella Valley Water District, Westside Elementary relied on contaminated well water. The school’s consolidation was fully funded with over $815,000 in grants from SAFER, $446,000 of which came from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a federal-state assistance program for infrastructure projects.

More information can be found here.