Supporters rally for bill that pays for clean water in rural, low-income areas


Supporters of a bill that would raise monthly water bills for many residents rallied in Sacramento Wednesday. 

The money raised from the bill would pay for systems to clean water in areas, supporters say, suffer from unsafe drinking water.

Central Coast Sen. Bill Monning introduced the bill last year. It would increase residential water bills by 95 cents a month and is projected to raise $100 million. Low income earners would be exempt.

A study from UC Davis showed tens of thousands of people living in San Joaquin’s unincorporated, rural and low-income communities have unsafe drinking water. Supporters of the bill and state workers say there are more across the state.

Labor and civil rights activist, Dolores Huerta, said the bill is a necessity for people in affected communities as the bill has not been voted on in the Assembly.

“They have to be leaders. They have to stand up for themselves. The have to stand up for the people of California,” she said.

Those rallying for the passage of the bill demand the state help foot the bill to clean up their water.

“It requires a very modern treatment system and very small communities don’t have the wherewithal to do that,” one supporter said.

Lucy Hernandez, who lives in Tulare County, said she used to pay for both tap water and bottled water because it was unsafe.

“We don’t want to be paying for water twice,” she said. “We are tired of that and we are done.”

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